In Iyengar class, 13 days ago, 10.01.07 we compared the Ashtanga and Iyengar versions of utthita hasta padagusthasana.
Huge mathematical difference between the two. Ashtanga one hand, two fingers to big toe raise leg to π/2 or at most 2π/3, and then forward fold, chin to shin (if going "old skool"). Iyengar, lift leg to π/2 or to position where foot can be grabbed by one hand and then both hands and raise leg as close to π as possible then chin to shin. Of course theoretically the pelvis should be kept square and level and perpendicular to floor - in both versions.
Then to work on correcting the alignment of the hip and femur and leg, Spirited C had us line up against the wall, butt, heel, and back against the wall. It's hard stand like that - let alone to keep everything aligned and raise that leg, then to grab the foot with both hands - not even considering personal anatomical (short arm) issues. Thank goodness for straps.
Fast forward, 10.01.17, AYC DC Sunday morning, cruising along in the standing sequence. D walks by my mat and points towards the ropes wall and directs me to put my butt and heel against the wall and instructs me to enter UHP. I maybe was able to lift either leg to π/3 without toppling - reaching an arm to the big toe, not even able to merely speculate the possibility.
This morning, exiting parsovatanasana, I stood at the front of my mat, glance around and decide that humility is the best option for a Wednesday morning. Back to the ropes wall...
Are they knowingly or unknowingly in cahoots?
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Three things of personal note when I wasn't toppling all over the place and hanging on the ropes:
1. Padabandha of the standing leg very important.
2. With D's assistance to actually get the raised foot, I was able to get this amazing stretch in the outer hip and inner calf of the raised leg.
3. Correct alignment, seems to accentuate where flexibility and strength are lacking (and it's quite amazing how the body can easily compensate).