Wednesday 30 January 2013

Supta-Vajrasana - Fixed Firm Pose

Many people at first are unable even to sit on their heels. And then to get the buttocks to the floor between the heels can take weeks. But when finally they do, they feel as though they have conquered Everest. And in a way they have. For once people prove to themselves they can do something, which only the day before seemed impossible - there is no stopping them.

To get yourself limbered up and hasten your progress (and ease the inevitable cramps in your knees and feet), you might practice this pose while watching television in the evening. Just get down on the floor Japanese-style, spread your feet apart, and bounce gently but persistently to stretch the muscles and tendons in your knees and feet and accustom them to their doubled-back position.

Some people - especially men - have great difficulty going anywhere in this posture with the knees together. If you find that this is the case with you, sit with the knees a little apart at first, and then force them back together after you have become proficient.

As for putting your hands on your feet, if you cannot even get your buttocks down to your heels as yet, you won´t be able to reach the toes. But try. It will increase the stretch.

Bending down brings out the first wail of protest from your feet. The farther back you go, the louder your little pigs will squeal and the ankles, calves, knees, and thighs will take up the chorus. You have the whole-hearted sympathy of all who have gone before you, and profanities are allowed. Quitting, however, is illegal, immoral, and therefore our of the question.

But you can be confident of one important thing: the discomfort is occasioned by the newness of the position, not because you are injuring yourself. Only if you jerk into or out of the position too quickly is there the possibility of  pulling something. Do everything slowly. That advice can´t be repeated too often.

You may, as a beginner, put your hands flat on the floor behind you, rather than on the toes. This will allow you to get down onto the elbows with more security and to take some of the weight off your poor legs and feet and onto your arms and hands instead.

There are two stages in this posture where almost everything gets stuck. The first is at the point of getting both elbows lowered onto the floor. For a few days, you don´t go ant farther because you are legitimately stretching our all the muscles from chest through abdomen, hips, thighs, calves, and feet. But after that, freezing in this position is just plain fear.

Finally you summon your courage and actually drop your head back to the floor. Yet, there you freeze again, still bearing most of your weight on the elbows, not quite sure what to do next and afraid to try anyway.

The solution to both problems is to relax. Realize that by fighting the act of touching your shoulders to the floor, you are making it triply difficult for yourself! Let go completely. Let those elbows slide out from under you and relax the shoulders and upper back onto the towel. Your legs and feet will complain, but bear it as long as possible and come up slowly.

Now that you are in the final position, begin trying to keep your knees absolutely together and flat on the floor. Then turn your attention to feeling as though your buttocks have turned to lead and are dropping right through the floor. Once you get the knack of that relaxation, you COULD FALL ASLEEP in the Fixed Firm, it´s that comfortable.

But Yoga doesn´t ask for heroes or fools. Do as much as you can each day and then hold it there for the count.

You must come up slowly and in exact reversal of the way you went in!

Despite the discomfort of this pose, it´s wonderful therapy to moan and groan and complain. The noises some people make should be recorded for posterity. And the axiom about misery loving company must first have been said about a class of Yoga students doing Fixed Firm - though everyone always seems to end up laughing instead of crying.


Fixed Firm Pose helps cure sciatica, gout, and rheumatism in the legs. It slims thighs, firms calf muscles, and strengthens the abdomen. It also strengthens and improves flexibility of lower spine, knees, and ankle joints.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.


Anonymous said...

I love this.

Anonymous said...

Who did the drawings and commentary?