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Sensation of pressure in the head in Supta Padanghustasana

Hubert2010-07-05 01:34:38 +0000 #1
I begun to practice Supta Padanghustasana.

(So far my practice did consist of a brief warmup, Tadasana, Virabhadrasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Baddha Konasana, Bharadvajasana, and Savasana. These were chosen by me in order to counter the fact that I sit on a chair a lot, and I have sciatic aches ... not radiating into the legs, but as a sensation of disconfort at the lower vertebrae level. It's all working well, and my posture improved a lot.)

Reason I want to do this asana is to open my hamstrings, they are very tight indeed, and this way it is impossible to practice forward bends without hurting my back. So I am on it, now, mostly after I read InnerAthlete's feedback to someone here.

My problem is that when I am doing this pose, with a strap around my upper feet, after a few seconds, I feel a tension, or pressure accumuating in my forehead. It is not a pain, but only a slight discomfort. My legs are long and the hamstrings really tight, so my upward leg is barely perpendicular to the foor, also I don't feel a clear stretch in the hamstring but also in my lower leg, the backside of the knee and Achilles' tendon. My forearms tire very fast holding the strap, so it is not just stretching but also a strenght training on my part.

What would be the recommended time for holding this pose ? I am trying to hold it for 15-20 seconds each time, three times, with a few minutes resting between them.


InnerAthlete2010-07-05 01:46:39 +0000 #2
You are taking one leg up at a time, correct?

And you are looping the strap around the arch of the raised leg, correct?

And holding the strap in the hand/arm on the same side as the raised leg?

You are keeping the other leg on the mat and straight?

And you are keeping the arm that is holding the strap straight?

If you are feeling tension in your forehead it is possible you are gripping with the neck, the face, and the jaw. The pose is not done, physiologically, above the collarbones.

It is also possible, in your zeal to open the hamstrings more you are going too far, not giving yourself enough slack inthe strap and thus pulling the the shoulder off the floor.

As far as the strap is concerned, try this:

Catcht eh strap with your hand and make a fist around it. Then, catch the tail of the strap and wrap it around your wrist, opening the fingers briefly to catch the tail in them, then close them up. In this way you are getting a loop around the wrist and it aides in the holding so the fingers don't do all the work. (there are a variety of ways to do this so find one that works for you AND can be easily released).

Keep the raised leg straight and the quadricep contracted.

Do three breaths on each side, three times until you are able to hold for nine breaths each side, once.
Janet Carpenter2010-07-05 02:24:32 +0000 #3
I completely concur with Inner Athlete. If your lower back bugs you, I would add, bend the leg that is on the floor and put that foot flat on the floor. It is not as intense a stretch with the on-the-floor-leg bent, either. It is really not optimal to strain or force things. Things I check for in this pose: are my shoulders on the floor? Is my head on the floor? Is my neck disengaged from the process, relaxed? Is my face relaxed?Is my entire spine extended along the mat? This "gets" the muscles along the back of the leg, in the low-lower back, and calf (if your strapped foot is flexed). Try seeing, also, if blending using the weight in your arms hanging from the (wrapped around your wrist) strap, your breath, and some strength, gentles the leg into a stretch instead of engaging as much "brute" strength.
Hubert2010-07-05 01:46:33 +0000 #4
Quote:

Originally Posted by InnerAthlete



You are taking one leg up at a time, correct?

Yes.

Quote:

And you are looping the strap around the arch of the raised leg, correct?

Yes.

Quote:

And holding the strap in the hand/arm on the same side as the raised leg?

I was holding the strap with both ends with both my hands.

Quote:

You are keeping the other leg on the mat and straight?

Yes.

Quote:

And you are keeping the arm that is holding the strap straight?

No, slightly bent.

Quote:

It is also possible, in your zeal to open the hamstrings more you are going too far, not giving yourself enough slack inthe strap and thus pulling the the shoulder off the floor.

Yes it happens but I push them back, when I notice this.

Quote:

As far as the strap is concerned, try this:

Catcht eh strap with your hand and make a fist around it. Then, catch the tail of the strap and wrap it around your wrist, opening the fingers briefly to catch the tail in them, then close them up. In this way you are getting a loop around the wrist and it aides in the holding so the fingers don't do all the work. (there are a variety of ways to do this so find one that works for you AND can be easily released).

I was not knowing this and because it is very hard to keep the strap with just one hand without this tehnique, I did it with both my hands. But I'll try this, now, thank you !

Quote:

Keep the raised leg straight and the quadricep contracted.

Do three breaths on each side, three times until you are able to hold for nine breaths each side, once.

This reminded me that I was probably unconsciously holding my breath because of the effort ... that's why I felt the pressure in the head. I'll try to relax, and breath normally.
Hubert2010-07-05 02:25:02 +0000 #5
Quote:

Originally Posted by Janet Carpenter



I completely concur with Inner Athlete. If your lower back bugs you, I would add, bend the leg that is on the floor and put that foot flat on the floor. It is not as intense a stretch with the on-the-floor-leg bent, either. It is really not optimal to strain or force things. Things I check for in this pose: are my shoulders on the floor? Is my head on the floor? Is my neck disengaged from the process, relaxed? Is my face relaxed?Is my entire spine extended along the mat? This "gets" the muscles along the back of the leg, in the low-lower back, and calf (if your strapped foot is flexed). Try seeing, also, if blending using the weight in your arms hanging from the (wrapped around your wrist) strap, your breath, and some strength, gentles the leg into a stretch instead of engaging as much "brute" strength.

What is the level of stretch one should feel in any asana ? I have a feeling that I am a bit masochistic, or impatient ... I have to feel a good stretch otherwise I feel I'm wasting time. Is it OK if the stretch hurts a bit ?
Janet Carpenter2010-07-05 02:40:38 +0000 #6
In my experience, yoga is a separate experience from stretching, although on the outside looking in, it is not obvious to the observer.

In Western culture, we tend to expect things quickly or instantly. Microwave ovens, cell phones, BlackBerries, e-mails, airplane travel . . .

and Western medicine often refers to the process of helping to heal the body in terms of a battle or a war. A struggle that needs to be dominated and won.

Yoga comes from an Eastern tradition that values patience and perserverence and a sense of unity and cooperation between mind and body. When we apply Western mentality to Yoga, we often get mixed results and can easily miss the gist of what yoga is about.

Two particular subtle changes can create the difference that makes yoga much more pleasurable and effective.

One, breathe with your poses. The breath "works" the pose deeper as Two, you release, let go, allow the muscles to un-bunch themselves.

The imagination is a powerful tool in yoga, creating a healing, beneficial mind-body connection. As you breathe in, imagine the breath flowing into the part of your body you are focusing on. Think of the in breath "softening up" the muscles in that area. As you breathe out, let the muscle tightness "flow out" of that area. Think of simply allowing that to happen rather than pushing, pulling or straining for changes. In this scenario, the breath is "doing the work" of loosening tight areas. The mind takes a breather (no pun intended, but hey, it's not too bad as puns go!)

Another effective way to approach this is to think of the leg lengthening a little bit with the in-breath, and coming a liiiiitle closer forward with the out-breath. These changes can be so tiny that the eye cannot perceive them, but it is important to have faith that the changes are indeed happening, and will accumulate over time.

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