David Roche Day 3: Backribs & Butt Spread

October 21, 2011 § 4 Comments

I sure hope I don’t get a whole bunch of spam bots for the title of this post…

Anyway, today was the led class with David, but it was completely different from any other class I’ve taken before. Basically, “Backribs” and “Butt Spread” pretty much sums up his focus. At every point, he was reminding us to draw awareness to the back ribs, or to lean into it or to do something that would open it. And in the seated postures, it was about “spreading the butt cheeks” and activating the inner legs. I’d say about 30 percent of his descriptions sounded rather esoteric to me, with my not-fully-aware back ribs and pelvic region.

We did all of Standing – but with his own take on things. Before getting us into UHP, he told us to ‘commit’ to the left leg and swing the right leg back and forth while keeping our torso stable and straight. Swing, swing, swing, then on the last swing up, catch the right foot to go into UHP A and the rest. Same thing for the other side. I like the concept of ‘committing’ to the standing leg, it sort of primes the mind for what is to come and helps enhance the awareness (and hopefully, the stability) of the standing leg. We did Tree pose instead of Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana – maybe because not everyone in the class could do it properly – and then Utkatasana and Virabhadrasana A and B.

Paschimottanasana was interspersed with Purvottanasana after every variation. I think we ended up doing about five of them in total. He made us concentrate on activating the lower back and pelvic area, to lift up with the pelvis engaged instead of leaving it soft. For the Janus, he guided us through the entries to each variation, drawing our awareness to ‘spreading the butt’ (i.e., grounding through the sit bones) and grounding/activating the bent leg. He also told us to ’round the back’ when folding forward in all the seated postures, to ‘lean into the back ribs’. This contradicts the guidance from Mitchell and Kirsten who are all about alignment, and therefore advocate folding forward with a straight back. Anyway, I much prefer the rounded back version because it’s simply lovely to rest your head on your knee and breathe deeply!

Things went differently after that. Instead of the Marichyasana sequence, David got us to sit with bent legs and our feet on the floor, then twist to place the hands on the outside of the knees. We did a few twists and turns in that position – it’s quite hard to describe – but basically with your legs bent and feet facing forward, your torso facing the side with hands on the floor, you’re sort of crouching and rounding the back on the exhale and straightening and twisting towards the back on the inhale, rotating the back shoulder in the process. After doing a few of these on each side, he then told us to put our weight in the arms and try to lift up into Ashtavakrasana A, but without wrapping the legs around the arms.


Yep. Apparently that helps to really open the back ribs and prep the body for the twists of the Marichyasana series. Erm, ok, good to know. But of course, I’m saying that as someone who has no problems twisting throughout the Marichyasanas. For others, the prep poses may make a world of difference. It was fun to try though.

We then went into closing – shoulderstand sequence, then headstand where I could only last about 12 breaths (on my count – David counts s-l-o-w-l-y) so I didn’t manage to do Urdhva Dandasana. In Utplutih as well, I stayed up for like 20 breaths which was agony since every count of his in that pose equates to three breaths of mine!

Wow this recap is a lot longer than I thought it was going to be. If you’ve read up to this point, thank you and I hope you found it useful in some way! Now excuse me while I go take a nap.


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