Level 1-2: Beginner-Intermediate
- Hip-opener, stretches the hips and inner thighs, as well as the ankles.
- Promotes focus and resilience.
- Can open the chest and front of the shoulders in the prone position.
- Alleviates menstrual cramps for some women.
- Promotes digestion/elimination.
Contraindications/Cautions (consult your physician):
- Hip/knee/ankle injuries or inflammation.
- Lower back issues.
- Pregnancy- discuss with your doctor and yoga instructor. May be safe for some with support/not compressing the belly/not staying for too long, but care is required regarding pelvic issues/instability due to the presence of relaxin hormone.
1). Start in all fours- hands under shoulders, knees under hips- and then inhale.
2). Exhale and gently widen the knees out towards the sides away from the body, allowing the pelvis to soften towards the ground, but keeping the lower back straight and in line with the rest of the spine.
3). Ensure the ankles are aligned with the knees, and then carefully turn the feet to point outwards at right angles, allowing the inside (medial aspect) of the ankles to rest against the ground.
4). Take a few rounds of breath gently easing into this new position, allowing the body to lower down towards the ground if possible. If not, stay where you are and breathe. If you can, as the body gets lower, support yourself on the forearms at shoulder-width apart, elbows under the shoulders, and gently press them into the ground.
5). Continue to breath deeply; inhale and exhale in and out through the nose, feel the length in the spine and expansion in the chest on the inhale, and the release of the body and inner thighs down towards the ground on the exhale.
6). If possible, lower the body and the forehead to the ground, placing the arms out at shoulder level, elbows at right angles, palms facing downwards. You can gently turn the head to rest a cheek against the floor, just remember to switch sides half way through staying in the posture. Breathe.
7). When you are ready to come out inhale and bring your hands back under the shoulders, engage core, and push your body back up. Exhale and gently walk the knees back towards the midline. Take Child’s Pose (Balasana) or come to lying on your back and hug your knees into your chest.
- You should not feel pain during this (or any) posture, so take your time, only go as far as is comfortable, and use your breath.
- If you don’t make it to the ground, bring the ground up to you by using your forearms or a block for support.