The inspiration for this week’s postural sequence comes from Alicia Orr and Alessandra Miele who serve as co-founders and directors of the beautiful North End Yoga studio in Boston Ma. Earlier on today after giving me a tour of their space, we started talking shop and collectively recognized how challenging it is to actually grab the toes once you’ve managed to drop back into the full form of kapotasana posture. Since I’m sure that many of you struggle with this same challenge, I’ve put together an accelerated sequence that should help you make some progress on this amazing variation.
I’ve always found that the best way to approach a posture like this is is to practice logically, systematically and with consistency. Supporting this theory, Simon Borg Olivier notes that, “If you want to develop a yoga practice that will support a functional activity, you must chose special yoga postures that most resemble the activity of your preference” (Borg-Olivier,350). In this context, that means that if we are to define the “functional activity” as the practice of kapotasana, any systematic approach that we undertake must utilize stretches that approximate the range of motion requirements necessary to accomplish the full expression of kapotasana itself.
By this reasoning, since the full expression of kapotasana requires a high degree of openness in the hip flexors, rectus abodminus, and pectoral muscles, any sequence that incorporates poses that address tightness or weakness in these areas will be very helpful if we wish to eventually experience deeper expressions of the full posture. Then, according to Olivier since “the physical effort or force you exert upon a tissue will stimulate or provoke a change in that tissue which will be directed by your effort… [you will] achieve the results you are working towards.” (Borg-Olivier, 350).
The following sequence of postures is designed to help you systematically develop range of motion gains in kapotasana through a combination of lunging/quadricep opening postures, back strengthening exercises and postural variations such as eka pada raja kapotasana, (king pigeon pose) which very closely resemble the same range of motion requirements that are found in the final form of kapotasana. Twists are included in the middle in order to give the body time to rest between backbending sets.
To practice this sequence, work from left to right downward through the chart. For optimal effect, practice this sequence on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next three weeks.