Monday, February 8, 2010

Drapery


Drape: 1. To cover, dress, or hang with or as if with cloth in loose folds: draped the coffin with a flag; a robe that draped her figure 2.To fall or hang in loose folds: arranged the cloth to drape over the table legs 3. to cover or dress loosely with cloth; drape the statue with a sheet.

I have started running a yoga inspired warm-up at the beginning of each dance class I teach with elements to aid the students in their particular dance styles. One of the items that I discussed at length with my young flamenco dancers was the concept that they need to experience an upper-back back bend while dancing. I had them imagine that they were lifting up and over in their upper-backs, trying not to touch an imaginary pin point that was being held just below their shoulder blades. I had them lift up, while I placed my finger in this exact spot and had them lift up and then drop over my finger, yet never touching it. They must keep their chests open wide and at the same time, they must keep their backs broad. From there, the arms are free to move on their own, irregardless of what the torso or legs/feet are doing. They can lift their arms seemingly effortlessly.

One pose that I have been experiencing very deeply in my own yoga practise is the back bend. In the weekly classes I take, my teacher often has us recline over a bolster of rolledup blankets. I have moved on to drape myself over a crate. I imagine that I am a piece of material and then allow myself to relax fully on the crate, with my head dropped back, not touching the floor. My lats are very tight though and when I try too reach above my head and then grab a hold of the crate, my back tightens up. I am basing my home practise on release in this area and am feeling emboldened and strong. It is an exciting journey.

As written by Barbara Benagh, Iyengar teacher and mentor:

Back bend Over a Crate
Roll two blankets into a firm cylinder and place them on top of a sturdy crate or stool. Lie back over the bolster, positioning it in the small of your back. With your hips and shoulders at the same level, melt back over the bolster until your spine relaxes. To extend further, stretch your arms overhead or bend your elbows and grasp the crate or stool. Relax your neck, and roll your top shoulder blades toward the stool to open your chest more. Extend your legs and place your feet flat on the floor. Focus on steady breathing to enhance an internal focus.

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