When, in the course of development, one changes from simple training complexes to more complicated ones, one should allow for the specific features of impacts on vulnerable body zones to insure their safety.
When using the feet as a foundation, the pelvis is the «reference point» with respect to where the position of the spine should be. And the position of the pelvis in the majority of exercises is determined by the mutual disposition of the thighs, which support it.
When using the arms as a foundation, the position of the shoulders are the «reference point», with respect to where one can consider the position of the spine to be. In this event, the position of the shoulder line is determined by the mutual disposition of the arms.
Therefore, at the initial level of the practice, special attention should be paid to developing the flexibility of the thighs in all directions, as well as to the strengthening of the shoulder muscles. One should also remember that the construction of the thigh and shoulder joints allows them to move in practically all directions. Whereas, the knee and elbow joints, which move in a single plane are vulnerable under heavy side shifts. Therefore, for example, Padmasana («Lotus-pose») should be performed generally with the rotation of the thighs and with limited (minimum) formation stress on the knees. Vamadevasana, however, should be performed with the ankle-joint lowering to the floor as close to the thigh as possible, with limited (minimum) spreading to the side.
In order to avoid «loosening» in the loin or neck, the initial level complexes should contain a sufficient number of exercises that strengthen the muscles surrounding and fixing the lumbar and cervical section of the spine from all sides. For example, with respect to the lumbar section of the spine, one has to develop «iron» protection of the loin by training. One must additionally develop protection for the straight muscles of the back (back protection), all muscles of the abdomen (front protection), and last but not least, all the small muscles of the paravertebral corset, which surround and fix the position of the spine. It is also necessary to develop the thighs in order to allow easy practice of splits, and to control the position of the pelvis in such a manner as to fix the pelvis perpendicularly to the central longitudinal plane of the body in all asymmetrical forms with back arches (e. g., Kapotasana, Natarajasana, Gherandasana, etc.) and forward bends (e. g., Utthita Hasta Pandangusthasana, Ardha Padma Paschimottanasana, Bhajravasana, etc.), and to secure that the back arches and forward bends can be performed in one and the same plane of the body. Then, despite the asymmetric disposition of the thighs, forward bends and back arches will be practiced in the same manner as in symmetric back arches (e. g., Bhujangasana or Vrshchikasana) or symmetric forward bends (e. g., Paschimottanasana or Kurmasana).
In general, according to readily available practice-based statistics, it can be said that in order to secure traumatic safety, asymmetric back arches and forward bends must be introduced in the program only when the thighs are developed so greatly, that this allows easy practice of passive longitudinal splits with a negative angle and an absolutely perpendicular pelvis (with respect to the direction of the thighs).
Possibly, this is exactly why in sequences of Ashtanga-Vinyasa-Yoga of Krishnamacharya - Pattabhi Joices’s, the initial state pays special attention to the thighs and forward bends, which create the foundation, stretch the tendons and prepare the legs for the pure practice of longitudinal splits. In the first and second sequences of Ashtanga-Vinyasa-Yoga of Krishnamacharya — Pattabhi Joices’s, asymmetrical back arches are not presented at all. They are only introduced at the end of the third sequences, after deep split stretches in Viparita Salabhasana («Inverted Grasshopper») — a variety of the «Scorpion-pose» (one of the deepest symmetrical back arches). At the same time the third sequences of Ashtanga-Vinyasa-Yoga of Krishnamacharya — Pattabhi Joices’s already requires the ability to practice passive «splits in the air» with the pelvis hanging below horizontal line.
This is completely justified, since after completing the first two levelsof this school, at the third level there already exists a well developed ability to safely use asymmetric back arches in one’s practice. Here, for example, two hands hold the leg in the asymmetrical «Pigeon-pose» with the body being in a symmetrical back arch (as in the «Cobra-pose»).
Besides the above, it is also important to pay attention just to the «actuation» (contractation) of the muscles. If there is hyper-mobility in the joints against the background of weak muscles, which can often be observed in women, than assemetrical contractation of the body muscles may cause traumatic displacement of the mutual disposition of the vertebraes and the disks. For example, if, starting with the «Cat-pose» (standing on all fours) one raises a leg and an arm of the same side, preserving balance will require an asymmetrical compensating contractation of the body muscles, which may lead to traumatic displacement in the lumbar section of the spine. In the event that similar exercises are combined with the back arch, the risk of sustaining a trauma is increased substantially.
Similar adverse effects may be obtained by performing asymmetrically:
- longitudinal Vinyasas;
- «head down» Vinyasas with a push up with one leg;
- entering (exiting) the «Scorpion-pose» by waving one leg;
- entering (exiting) the «head down stand» (on the hands, head, shoulders, etc.) by waving one leg; and etc.
At the advance levels of practice, which uses multiple overturned forms with «stands on the hands» in order to reverse the Flow, the accent is shifted to developing the strength of the shoulders and torso muscles, securing balance of the spine in dynamic transitions and static forms.
In this case any bends or arches of the spine must be practiced with obligatory conscious control of the fixating muscle corset.
Summarizing the above, it is possible to define the focal points of physical development at different levels of practice.
- Cleansing the organism and reducing the fat content in the body to a minimum through accumulating and burning harmful substances.
- Strengthening all the body muscles with the accent being made on the muscles of the paravertebral corset of the spine, abdominal muscles, the straight muscles of the back and the shoulder muscles.
- Stretching the muscles and tendons of the back leg planes.
- Developing the thigh joints in different directions.
- Accumulating Power and Endurance through composing the training form in the course of regular and educated practice.
- Mastering splits, until one has the ability to practice them in the ideal passive manner in various positions, including negative angle splits.
- Stretching the spine and torso muscles in deep symmetrical back arches.
- Controlled and cautious development of the single-plane joints (knees and elbows) in side directions, the same refers to ankle joint and wrists.
- More intensively accumulating Power per weight unit and developing «unkilled» endurance by precisely balancing energy consumption and collection, adaptation and regeneration.
- Developing the body in synthetic forms, employing different positions of arms, legs and the spine.
- Mastering asymmetrical back arches and forward bends, including during handstands, on one leg, one hand and one leg.
- Mastering the technique of interaction with the Inverted Flow, during the various forms of handstands.
- Retaining and using Abnormal Powers.
- Using paradoxical exercises and unexpected technical combinations on the verge of the Real (all possible stands: on one hand, on the elbows (only), on the hands (palms) with fingers directed back, on the fingers, on the head without using the hands, etc.).
- Freely combining the elements of all possible forms from previous levels.
- Controlling the Primary Flow.