Published in DRUM! Magazine's July 2010 Issue
Yoga is the same as learning to play the drums: You learn the rudiments (in yoga, they are the standing poses), and as you become more proficient, you begin to combine rudiments (yoga flows). These parallels continue to advanced levels of improvisation and artistic nuance and shading.
The Parsvakonasana, or lateral angle, is the third posture of a three-posture flow designed as a pre-performance energy booster and mini meditation. Each posture has been presented as a stand-alone practice and should be learned as such. You can work on flowing after you develop a basic understanding of the dynamics of each pose. Let’s begin:
1. Stand with your feet approximately 4' apart and parallel. This is a
medium distance so taller students may be more comfortable with a wider stance.
Shorter or exceedingly stiff students might need a narrower stance.
2. Turn your right leg 90 degrees to the right.
3. Slide the left heel slightly to the left so it is further out than the little toe of the left foot.
4. Stretch both arms out at shoulder level, palms down.
5. Bend your right knee until the shin is vertical.
6. Bend to the right and place your fingers on the floor. The forearm can be placed across the thigh if the floor is too much. Make sure the knee does not drift inward (Fig. 1).
7. Gaze to the palm or just up to the ceiling.
8. Hold for several breaths and repeat the pose to the left side.
9. You can practice a few repetitions.
When you are ready to work on the flow of postures, be sure to maintain the alignment as you move from pose to pose. Try to keep the transitions smooth and fluid (here we are sounding a lot like playing the drums again). The benefits are the same as Warrior II with the addition of a powerful lateral stretch to the body. Remember, all’s well that bends well.