Arm Work... What is Straight Arm?
Before starting my practice journal today, excuse me for not updating the Journal last Friday. I was too tired toward the end of the week.
Today I decided to look into the arms and elbows. When I was taking photos last night for IG Yoga Challenge, TwistOutTheToxins, I was shocked to see how hyperextended my elbows were. I wasn't doing an arm balance pose. Instead, it was Twisted Prasarita Padottanasana (one hand pressed down to the ground and twisted to the opposite site with the arm extending up toward the sky). I saw my arms were hyperextended in the pictures. Then, I realized how little attention I had paid to the arm and elbow in my practice. After putting so much work on my leg work, it was time for me to work on arms.
My left elbow was hyperextended in the left picture. I tried to straight my left arm in the right picture. However, I think the elbow was still slightly locked.
Since I was used to hyperextended elbows and consider that as straight arms, the actual straight arms felt like bent elbows to me. The studio where I practice in the morning has no mirror, I had to FEEL and VISUALIZE how I positioned my arms and elbows in standing poses, such as Trikonasana, Parivrtta Trikonasana, Parsvakonasana, and Parivrtta Parsvakonasana. In these poses, the focus was on the extended arm. What I went after was the line of the energy and straight arms. For example, one diagonal line from the back heel to finger tips in Parsvakonasana and Parivrtta Parsvakonasana, and one straight line from one arm to the other in Trikonasana and Parivrtta Trikonasana. Besides the line, I also tried to keep the extended arm straight instead of hyperextended, which was new to my body. It will probably take me some time to get used to.
Adho Mukha Svanasana was another pose required my attention. I tended to lock elbows with collapsed forearms in Downward Dog. I had to remind myself constantly by lifting wrists up, micro-bending elbows and externally rotating arms and shoulders. It was so easy for me to forget about the arm work in Downward Dog. I felt I could get a "good" shoulder stretch with slacking arms. Unconsciously, that became my “default” Downward Dog, a misaligned Downward Dog I would do after the upward dog in a Vinyasa. I caught myself doing that in IG Yoga Challenges videos and consciously corrected it in the next second.
Another pose that I had my elbow locked was Purvottanasana. I was called out by my teacher quite a few time in this pose. This was never an easy pose for me. With micro-bend elbows, it only made the pose more challenging. I hope one day this pose will become easy.
I forgot to mention that I was given a new pose last Friday, Bakasana. This pose wasn't new to me, but to hold for five breaths toward the end of the practice was tough.
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