Yoga poses to help build core strength to lift up in Lolasana, and shift your mindset
Lolasana- with help from a belt and blocks
Lolasana- Pendant Pose is a pose that stops many people in their tracks. It is not an easy pose. And yet it is one of the first arm balancing poses that is taught. It is viewed as a preliminary arm balancing pose that will leads towards more advanced arm balancings.
If every time you practise Lolasana your feet always stayed stubbornly glued to the floor or if you get so exhausted , irritated and despondent trying to lift up then perhaps it`s time to start to think differently about Lolasana.
By the time you are introduced to Lolasana in class I believe you are already half way towards success. Your yoga practice has started to culture your mind. It has shown you how to sit with strong sensations while in a pose.
Remember the first time you practised Downward facing dog pose. If you were anything like me you felt your arms were going to collapse under your body weight and your hamstrings were going to snap. Through practising pose over and over again we change the way we see the pose and the way we see ourselves.
It is not just a matter of being physically stronger.
Your yoga practise has helped you become mentally stronger.
We are incredibly emotional animals. We are quick to attach strong likings and dis-likings to poses. We are quick to practice more the poses we feel we are good at. We are quick to shy away from doing things that make us fearful. Yoga gives you the courage to go to places with your body that you have never been or haven`t been since you were a kid. It took me years to kick up into handstand. I was just so afraid of falling and hitting my head.
Often what seems like failure should be viewed as success.
Chaturanga Dandasana- Plank Pose
I watch students try a pose like plank (chaturanga dandasana) for the first time. It is a pose that requires core strength and one that will help you as you journey towards Lolasana. For some there is despondency when the arms give way and they collapse to the floor.
But overtime I watch that same student try out a prop that I might have suggested. I also watch how the yoga practice shows them how to become curious and calmer as they try to figure out the pose.
Success with Lolasana
Pendant pose will come when you learn how to rewire your brain ..shift your mindset. Yes you have to practice poses that build core strength but may also you have to change the way you think about lolasana.
I suggest start by breaking down all the different parts that go to making up a “lolasana”. Build your self confidence so the next time the feet stay stuck to the floor … you know you still “preparing” for lift-off!
Some of the poses to work on are shown in the pictures below.
Lolasana requires strong wrists and arms so practice poses that will help to strengthen wrists, hands are arms like Downward facing dog pose.
Handstands, straight arm plank pose, full chaturanga Dandasana. (use a belt above elbows if needed)
Lolasana requires a broad upper back. Practice garadusasana (eagle pose arms),
Malasana for back and to tone core abdominal muscles.
Together with plank pose and full plank with bent arms
Lolasana also requires strong toned core abdominal muscles. These poses together with a regular practice of standing poses, seated poses and abdominals like leg raises (urdhva Prasarita
Lolasana also requires flexible hips, toned inner thighs and outer thighs. So practice all the standing poses and forward bends that you regularly do in Intermediate and Experienced level classes
Don’t rely on brute strength!
Find your pelvic floor! I have come to understand when you are able to engage the pelvic floor it makes all the difference in arm balancing poses. Learn to get quiet and connect your breath as you lift the pelvic floor up. Then you will begin to feel the lightness and an inner strength that comes from inside just above your pubic bone.
Use Props.. seek out props that will help you lift your body up. Use blocks, belts and chairs. See photos. But remember when you press down onto the blocks or the chair remember it is not just “grunt” upper body strength that will lift the feet a little of the floor you need to engage your pelvic floor. Use your breath shift your weight forward. Be patient, curious and playful. Show compassion towards yourself
Lolasana with two chairs
Lolasana – with two belts and two blocks
The order in which to do poses
You can prepare for lolasana by practising a dynamic sequence that involves asanas that are weight bearing, that open your hips, tone your inner thighs and abdominals. Like Sun Salutes.
I think it is best not to sequence lolasana near the end of a practice when you are winding down and maybe physically tired. Put it in to a practice after standing poses, seated and forward bends and headstand. Allow plenty of time to wind down after practising them.
Be sure to give yourself time to practice poses that will switch on your parasympathetic nervous system and allow you to wind down after arm balances. (like Shoulderstand, plough pose, long timing forward bends, Savasana)
Take steps to DEAL WITH FEAR…
When I first started to practice arm balances I had a spare mattress set up to break my fall. It gave me courage to keep trying.
The joy I felt when I finally lifted my feet of the floor was immense. Persistence is a essential part of a practice. As is maintaining your energy and enthusiasm. It is important to know when to take a break. Overdoing will bring both physical, mental and emotional fatigue. I suggest practice these poses enough to shift mental and emotional blockages but stop before despair sets in! There is always another day.
Do an all rounded practice
It is important to incorporate into a core strengthening practice poses that release core muscles. Just strengthening your ‘core, will lead to all sorts of postural imbalances, gut issues, digestive, excretory, back issues and difficulties with breathing associated with an overly tight chest. I am sure you are familiar with the muscle bound, rounded chest, tight diaphragm and hard belly look. Incorporate poses like active or supported backbends to keep the chest open.
Practice Standing Poses where you work to open hips. Inner thigh muscles can be toned through the practice of standing poses and this will help stabilize your hips in arm balances. Both standing and seated twists will help tone the internal obliques.
Take your time to widen your back muscles (latismissus dorsi). Practice standing and seated forward bends to stretch your spine, lengthen your hamstrings and open the pelvic area. Many of the seated poses with be very helpful to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Standing poses like Trikonasana (triangle pose) and revolved seated poses will help tone muscles (Quadratus lumborum) deep lower back muscles that help lift the hips and are important when attempting poses like Vasisthasana.
Be sure to give yourself time to practice poses that will switch on your parasympathetic nervous system and wind down after arm balances. (like Shoulderstand, plough pose, long timing forward bends, Savasana)
When feeling tired, and for women when menstruating you should learn to leave these poses alone and instead practise poses that will quieten, cool and restore your nervous system. On those days there are many poses such as supported standing, seated poses and forward bends that will help maintain core strength and stability without overheating your system.
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