Friday, May 17, 2013

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana or "Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff" Pose

Urdhva dhanurasana (Yoga wheel) is one of my favorite poses. In the least corny way possible, it makes my heart sore and makes me feel light. So, you can imagine my excitement as I deepened this asana (pose) to move towards the deeper shoulder opening of dwi pada viparita dandasana, which today’s blog explains. This pose makes my heart feel as if it is spilling out of me with joy. That said, it is definitely an advanced asana for those who feel not only comfortable in Yoga wheel but also are very open and strong in the shoulders.

If this is the first time that you’ve seen this pose, don’t be taken aback. It can appear more fantastical in a “cirque-de-soleil” manner than it truly is. Honoring the karmas (Yoga levels) of each asana and listening to your body will ensure that you keep yourself safe and find the greatest enjoyment out of your practice. Om shanti :)

Sanskrit: Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana            Western Term: Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff 

Origin of Word
This asana is a blend of sirsasana and urdhva dhanurasana

Type of Asana: backbend asana

Photographed by the talented Christine Sears :)

How To:
1.     Please only attempt this pose if you’re already comfortable with urdhva dhanurasana. Assuming you’re comfortable, come into urdhva dhanurasana.
2.     Inhale as you bring weight into your left hand and exhale to bend your right elbow bringing your right forearm onto the floor. Repeat the same action on the opposite arm. Breathing right here is a great krama (level) to remain.
3.     If you’re ready to go further, feel your chest pressing forward opening your shoulders. Exhale and start to straighten both legs, feeling the pada bhanda, energy of your feet, pressing into the ground.
4.     Stay for about 5 to 7 breaths or until you’ve found your climax and very carefully bend your knees keeping your feet on the ground. Come back onto the palms of your hands into urdhva dhanurasana and tuck the chin as you exhale and lower your bed. Come into constructive rest pose and happy baby/dead bug asana as a counter pose to this deep backbend and shoulder-opener.

Make sure you tuck your chin into your chest (to protect the neck) as you come down. 

Body Points:
*For safety reasons, you MUST keep both forearms firmly on the ground while keeping your elbows shoulder width
*Do not straighten your legs if you feel pinching in your back

Emphasized Body Parts: stretches the front body and opens the chest; deep shoulder opener; balances the endocrine system (pituitary, pineal, thyroid, and adrenal glands) can be useful to relieve menopause symptoms

Mental Achievements: heart-soaring and opening to not only share your own love with others but also better receive their love

Arms straight in Yoga wheel is a good sign that you're ready to try dwi pada viparita dandasana

An aid for beginners: kramas are the various levels for a certain asana (pose). The krama of any pose should be approached with love and respect for your body on that specific day that you practice, for we are constantly changing. For any given pose, there are various levels of advancement. This krama that I offer is for those who are newer to the pose or looking for a more lunar variation:

-Add security to the shoulder opening by elevating your elbows on to a rolled-up sticky mat
*when you can fully straighten your arms in urdhva dhanurasana, it is a good sign that you’re ready for dwi pada viparita dandasana

Chakra: Anahata chakra, 4th chakra, found at the center of the chest; The Anahata chakra is symbolized by a green twelve-petaled lotus, located over your heart and lungs. This chakra represents love and self-love. If balanced, one may experience unconditional love for self and for others.
-the bija mantra or “seed sound” of the 4th chakra is “yam.” Repeat this sound in a 4th chakra asana to help open your heart to love.

Ancient Sanskrit Proverb: “It is called friendship, when seeing someone, or touching them, or hearing them, or talking to them, touches your heart. Otherwise it is just an acquaintance…”

Element: air

Make sure you take time to rest in happy baby or dead bug as a counterpose after this deep backbend. Stay in happy baby or dead bug as long as you were up in your backbend. 

*Do not do if experiencing wrist, shoulder, low back, or neck injuries

As we move from spring into summer, the days grow longer and more sunlight is added to each day. Ayurvedically this is a peak time to cultivate creative projects with the aid from the energetic sun. Jai! 


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