Monday, March 15, 2010

Ukemi, balance, and sidedness

Photo courtesy of Whatnot

This past week has mostly been a bust for yoga practice because I had other stuff that captured my attention, but there were a couple of really interesting practices.
  • falling out of balance poses - in aikido I often preach that when you are working on your ukemi skills, you want to practice slowly moving through the arc to the "point of no return" - the place where you can no longer control your balance and you have to fall - and then falling from there instead of jumping through the "point of no return" into your rolls. This has several benefits, including chalenging your balance. This past week I practiced rolling out of virabhadrasana III (Warrior #3) and out of ardha chandrasana (half-moon posture). By having the ukemi as a safe extension of the pose after the "point of no return", it allowed me to move farther into each pose with less resistance, and my balance was better, and it made for nice, gentle rolls.
  • Exquisite sidedness - I also noticed this week (I notice it every week) that my practice is very different from one side to the other. In side-bending from a simple cross-legged posture, I am much tighter bending to the right (stretching my left flank) than I am bending to the left. Also, there's an obvious difference in janu sirsasana (modified hurdler's stretch) from left to right - but it's not in my hamstrings. The difference is on my back and flank again. Stretching toward my right leg (stretching my left flank) is much easier than stretching toward my left leg. The interesting thing is that my limitations are opposite in these two postures - I'm limited by my left flank in one posture and by my right flank in another posture. Curious.
Well, not a complete bust I guess... ;-)
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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