"Everything that we are doing is about bringing awareness," Sharat Arora

Our job is to be aware without judgment. Whether I am able or not able to be on the centre of the heel is simple. Knowing what to do is important and it has nothing to do with judgment. I know this is right or this is wrong, but the mind is constantly deciding between like and dislike.

The one who is judging the other part of myself is causing conflict within. This conflict takes us away from freedom so in the end we have to resolve it. Don't allow it to come to fruition and become a reality, keep observing without any reaction. We already have enough conflict so don’t make anymore. When we start to do yoga practice we begin to think that this should be right, and this should be done. Rather let it grow slowly and organically. When you make a judgment of it you only make it worst.

Preparation for Virabhadrasana 2 & Uttitha Parsvakonasana:-  
Take two blocks and put them behind the right foot. Attend to the left foot, being there completely. The process is first to be aware of the space on the back foot and that is done by the action of the toes, which is made before the heel is pressed down. Then take the hands to the side. The moment the hands go to the side, more weight of the body seems to go into the feet, which helps to confirm the action of pressing the heel down. So continuously keep stretching the toes and stay in the center of the heel. Staying there in the left foot and doing everything that needs to be done.

To stay on the center of the heel, to have all the toes moving forward and check that the weight on all the mounds of the toes is equal is important. Once obtained, hold that. Stay there, in the heel and then bend the right leg slowly into Virabhadrasana 2. The fingers of the left hand are extremely useful now in order to maintain full awareness in the left foot. So activate all the fingers on the left hand. Don't take the arms down. If you don’t have physical energy to keep them there, use your mental energy. Physical energy may appear to be at times limited, but your mental energy can become unlimited.

So use the mind power and then the body will co-operate. The trunk must be exactly at 90 degrees, not leaning over. Then exhale and take the right hand to the blocks. Bring the blocks as close as possible to the leg and keep the mounds of the hand on the block, don't place the whole palm flat. Allow the hand to rest on the block and then the weight goes on that back foot more clearly.  Learn that trick, it’s an absolutely amazing trick and very essential for this pose. And learn how to relax, being in the pose and then able to relax. In order to relax you need your facial muscles to be quiet. Then slowly come up, and take the blocks to the other side.

Yoga is not about over exerting yourself, its about having the correct action focus and putting the energy in one small place. In this pose it's in the back foot. If the action is correct, no excess exertion will come and the breath remains calm. If the breath is moving like a storm, then check the action. When you make such self inquiry then the posture becomes more and more refined. A balanced & refined pose requires very little energy.
Keep the attention on the right foot, the sole of the foot is felt. Measure inner and the outer soles and check whether they are both as long as each other, and that one hasn’t shortened. Another check is to see if the skin on the mounds of the toes is not squashed in one part and there is no weight on another. Then taking the fingers on the side, press down the center of the right heel into the floor. Any loss of length of the foot is first felt and seen on the mounds.

Then be there in the back foot and take the left foot out. Stay in the back foot and then bend the left leg. Now this is the typical pose when we can exert ourselves from taking the hands on the side. The secret here is to extend from the correct place, not from the shoulders. Extend from the fingers. But still continue to work on the back foot. When you bend the arm, you are still there in that foot. The brick has to be close to the body, touching. The hand has to be touching the leg. When the hand rests the back foot becomes clear.

If you take the hand off, all the weight comes on the front. Learn this more refined manor and relax. Allow the breath to flow. When we restrict the breath there is tension. When the breath is flowing freely there is no tension. Then inhale and come back. From start to finish, be there consciously. How you go in and out of the pose, do it consciously.

Virabhadrasa 1: Check the direction- right foot forward and left foot back. First job in these sideways positions is to check the front foot. Check its status and make the quality better. First shorten it and you end up on the front part of the mounds. That’s good, now stretch the toes till you arrive on the center. Very little stretch has to be made on the toes for that to occur. The center of the mounds of the toes is the foundation. That brings the force for the hip to go back into its place and automatically the back hip comes forward. I don’t do anything locally in the back hip, I press down the mounds of the front foot and this goes back. Now the action of the back foot is important so there is equal forces working and balance can come. Therefore raise the heel up on the back foot, then stretch the toes on the back foot and move the heel backward, toes forward heel backward. Then the lower buttocks meet each other. The quality of the forward bend:- that lifting up, only comes fully when the action is done correctly in the footwork...

Yoga master teacher Sharat Arora
Article derived from the 5 - Day Courses
at the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre in Arambol North Goa, 08.12.2015

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