From Mountain (Tadasana pose) Step the left back into a wide stance. Turn the toes out to a 45 degree angle. Open the arms out to a T shape. Inhale and extend the right arm, reaching out through the finger tips. On the exhalation, bring the right hand to shin or to the outside of the foot. Inhale and roll the left shoulder back slightly as you extend the left hand upwards, palm facing away from you. Turn the head and gaze towards the out stretched fingers. To come out of the pose, inhale and lift back to a wide stance. Turn the torso and toes to centre. Then bring the right foot in to 45 degrees and rotate the torso towards the left leg. Bring the left foot to a 90 degree angle. Repeat on other side.
Picture yourself pressed between two sheets of glass to gain the correct alignment. Now imagine squeezing the thighs together like a scissors as you draw the femurs (thigh bones) into the hip. Grow roots from the soles of the feet to maintain your balance and keep the legs strong the tree trunks in this pose.
Check the feet are aligned heel to heel to arch. Those with more flexible hips should use a heel to heel alignment. Root the feet into the mat, keeping the legs strong and pelvis stable. Stack the shoulders on top of each and keep the arms active to create space between the shoulder blades
- Aids the digestion, massages the intestines
- Opens the chest, lungs and heart to improve breathing
- Gently stretches sciatic nerve and inner thighs and groins
- Strengthens legs
- Improves flexibility of hips, stretches abductors
- Stretches side waist and core
WATCH OUT FOR
- Curling forward into a banana shape may happen when hips and side core are tight. Use modifications
- Lift up through the inner foot to avoid the ankles caving inward
- Lift up through the side core to avoid stressing lower back and lumbar spine
Injuries to knee, back, hips and neck
- To avoid putting pressure on injured knees, use bent knee triangle. Insure the front leg is bent to a 90 degree angle and the thigh is parallel to the floor.
- In the case where the hips are very tight or painful, bring the hand to the shin, block or chair.
- If shoulders are tight bring the top hand down to the hip.
- In case of neck pain, Do not turn head, keep eye gaze to floor or straight ahead.
- To deepen the pose bring the extended arm back to open the chest and heart
- To strengthen the legs and feet, hold the big toe with the two fore fingers. Press the toe into the ground while pulling upwards with the fingers for a toe to hip stretch.
- Revolving triangle. Bring the left hand to the outside of the right foot and then repeat the other side.
YOGA COUNTER POSES
- Reverse warrior
- Wide straddle forward fold
Written By: Brenda Hamlet RYT 200
Brenda teaches yoga in Health & Fitness Centres and in small corporate settings across the city of Oxford, England. More information about Brenda can be found at www.pret-a-yoga.com.