Guruji o prawidłowej pracy w Sarvangasanie / Guruji about correct Sarvangasana

The following article has been reprinted from Yoga Rahasya Vol.10 No.4 2003 with the kind permission of its editor, Rajvi Mehta.
The Subtleties of Sarvangasana.
Arti H Mehta
Sarvangasana is referred to as the ―queen of asanas , a rare gem in the three worlds as it brings about an overall effect in the practitioners body as well as mind. Its regular practice brings about gradual changes such that practitioner develops the subtle qualities of patience and emotional stability. The asana itself requires a lot of subtle adjustments and is not merely a ― shoulder balance‖. Often, we tend to perform the pose mechanically. To give an example, we use a belt around the upper arms but we do not know why we use or what we learn from it. This article concentrates on some of the subtle adjustments of Sarvangasana with an explanation on why we do it. The reader is however advised to refer to Light on Yoga and Yoga in action for the basic methodology for these asana.
Why do we teach Sarvangasana before we teach Sirsasana?
Sarvangasana creates confidence in the practitioner to do the topsy turvy poses. In both the asanas the legs are in the air and they wobble. But, there is an ―earth‖ quality in the legs in Sarvangasana which is absent in Sirsasana. A student feels more stable and therefore we teach Sarvangasana first.
How can you grow intellectually, sensitively, sensibly to understand the unknown within the core?
Yoga is the blending and coordination of the action of the motor nerves with the sensory nerves. When the motor nerves go very close to the sensory nerves, the sensory nerves get jarred and lose their feelings and perceptions. When that happens, wait for a while and allow the mind to recede from the extension in the motor nerves by your voluntary action. This will then allow your sensory nerves to guide you on what‘s to be done.
The sensation of the motor nerves coming together with the sensory nerves without them rubbing each other is the guide. This will make you grow intellectually, sensibly to understand the unknown within the core.
How do you learn the right action on the legs in Sarvangasana?
The correct action on the legs is learnt when the legs are slightly spread apart. The sensation that you get in the legs when they are apart serve as a guide when you bring the legs closer.
Observe the direction of the skin when you spread your legs apart. The skin of the bottom leg faces the front but the skin on the top leg (frontal thigh ) faces the sides. The skin in the bottom of the legs guides you towards the ―correct‖ positioning of the legs in Sarvangasana where the legs are joined and kept close to one another. Sensitively, turn the skin on the top of the thighs to face the front.
Use the motor nerves in the bottom of the legs to bring the legs closer so that the skin in this part of the legs continues facing to the front.
How does one join the legs in Sarvangasana?
Spread your legs apart. Harden the motor nerves on the bottom of the outer side of the lower legs and revolve the skin inwards of the top legs for the two legs to come close together. “Keep the motor nerves strong, the sensory nerves should circularly move for the motor nerves to come closer without creating passivity”. Pound the bottom of the outer side of the thigh to revolve the skin of the top leg inwards for the thigh to face to the front. “Where there is pounding, is the stable brain which should not shake and where it’s revolving is the mobile brain”. Lengthen the skin as you join the legs. When the skin is lengthened, the flesh has to lengthen.”Do not work from the motor nerves. They have to follow the sensory nerves”.
How do you know whether the feeling in the legs is correct or not in Sarvangasana?
You should lift the skin from the inner ankle towards the heel for the calf muscles to stretch out like a stencil. Then look at the inner side of the ankle joint of each leg and find out whether it is in line with the respective eye. If it is not in line then lock the stable joint at the bottom of the thigh, get the outer side of the ankle joint to move by taking the sensory nerves inwards. “ The inner legs go up, the outer legs do not go up the outer legs have to be brought in line with the inner leg. That is meditation”.
How should the knees be in Sarvangasana?
Watch how the kneecap naturally behaves in the pose. The outer kneecap tends to go out. Roll the outer knee inwards. Watch the movement of the knee. Does the entire knee feel gripped? If not, It means the nerves are lifeless at the back of the inner leg near the bottom of the buttocks. Create life there and you can grip the entire knee. The sensory nerves at the outer side of the knee go towards the ligament. Roll the quadriceps muscles from the outside inwards so the centre of the quadriceps muscles is exactly in line with the nipples. The knees should get broader as if they are extending from side to side.
How do you ascend the back of the legs up?
Keep the buttock bone away from the tailbone. Then the groins roll in, the pelvic head gets in and the back of the legs go up.
How should you practice Sarvangasana if you have neck pain?
If you have neck pain you can use a blanket folded three times vertically under each shoulder while practicing at home.
How do you know whether you are doing correct Sarvangasana or not ?
Watch the centre of the abdomen and the outer viscera. The outer abdominal viscera is down where the centre is up. So, poke the inner arch of the thumb into the body for the outer abdominal walls to come close up. That‘s how you learn Sarvangasana.
Why do you use a belt for the elbows?
The belt is not used merely to support. You use the belt to bring intelligence to the biceps and triceps. With the belt around the upper arms, pin the lateral biceps down, move them towards each other by coiling the skin of the biceps towards the ground. If the skin cuts the belt, you have to roll the upper arms inwards so that it neither cuts the belt nor allows the arms to go out.
How to adjust the belt and work on the belt:
Sit. Take the belt around the arms at the elbows. Lie down after the belt is put. The belt gives a sense of direction to the fibres of the forearms. Are they parallel or are they cutting in? The one that is cutting in has to turn out and the moment it turns out the elbow goes in. The reaction of the adjustment of the biceps on the belt is to be learnt.
The bottom edge of the belt touches the arm but the top edge does not. Both the edges of the belt should be even touching the arm. Now, move your intellectual intelligence on the sonic intelligence to revolve from the inner side of the biceps to the outer side of the biceps. Only turn the motor and the sensory nerves. The inner, the top and the back of the arms equally touch the belt when you rotate the biceps from inside out.
Why do you use a belt for the middle of the thighs?
The belt is not just used to tie the legs and keep them straight. You have to observe
How the sensory nerves in one leg is almost touching the belt without any constriction on the skin and in the other leg the skin is squeezing the thread of the belt in such a way that it does not allow the sensory nerves to open. Feel the sensory nerves on the outer side of the thighs where the lower end of the belt and the top end of the belt touches. When you observe the belt, there is a slight fold on the belt. Now gradually stretch using the motor nerves for the sensory nerves to act more than the motor nerves. The fold disappears automatically. The belt also helps to move the quadriceps muscles backwards.
How do you go into the pose using a belt for the legs and arms ?
Tie a belt for the legs and lie down. Bend the knees and get the legs closer. Let your intelligence flow into your calf muscles. Let the shoulders roll out. Keep the elbows in line with the upper arms. Extending the back of the arms, bend your elbows and extend the upper arms towards the elbows and open the top chest. Now, keeping the top chest alert, exhale, bend your knees and quickly go up into the pose with the hands on your back.
How should the energy flow in the body in Sarvangasana?
It is a circular coiling movement of energy within the body. The energy flows from the back of the legs upto the heels and then descends down from the metatarsals toward the front. It is a circular action from behind. Energy from the back of the heel goes to the buttocks and from the top of the chest comes to reach and receive that cycle of the energy flowing down and from the frontal chest the energy goes up to the pelvic girdle. It is a circular coiling movement of the energy in the body.
Why do you sometimes feel drained in Sarvangasana?
This happens because the chest does not open out. The sides of the chest which is in line with the nipples is too narrow while the top chest is broad. To correct this, lie down on the floor in preparation for Sarvangasana with the blankets supporting your shoulders. Extend your hands behind you and roll the triceps towards you. Keep the palms on the back, press the elbows down on the floor and raise the armpits of the chest. This creates space in your chest.
How to broaden the chest?
Pinning the triceps towards the ground, place the hands on the back and lift the inner tailbone straight up the chest broadens. The importance of Sarvangasana is it releases the glandular system.
Why do you need to learn inverted poses in order to learn pranayama?
Sarvangasana, Sirsasana and other inverted poses help to develop the area of the sides of the chest. This area is the storehouse of energy which is important for pranayama. Theses poses help to conserve energy and are not draining poses.