Level 1: Beginner
- Improves balance and focus
- Strengthens the joints and tones the muscles in the standing leg
- Can help with flat feet and sciatica
- Calms the nervous system
Contraindications/Cautions (consult your physician):
- Injuries/inflammation of the ankles/knees/hips
- Sacroiliac joint injury/inflammation
- Vestibular issues- can help improve balance but use support to prevent falling
- Pregnancy- fine but again consider support to prevent falls
- Start in Samasthiti
- Transfer weight into the left leg, taking care not to lock the knee. Place the hands on the hips. Breathe and steady here.
- Inhale and lift the right leg using the strength of the leg, and place the sole of the right foot either at the ankle, calf, or inner thigh on the left leg, depending on your level of practice. Just ensure the right foot is NOT pressing against the left knee. You can use your hand to place the foot in the groin if required once you have lifted the leg. Exhale.
- Inhale and draw up through the arch of the left foot, stabilise the legs by pressing the sole of the right food and the left leg together. Engage pelvic floor and gently draw the abdomen back towards the spine. Find length in the spine, drawing up out of the crown of the head.
- Arrange the arms in one of the many variations: above the head with palms together or arms reaching outwards and upwards, or hands in prayer at heart centre, or clasped elbows behind the back, or they can stay at the hips if more comfortable.
- Keep the gaze (drishti) soft and focussed and stay for a few breaths. On an exhale release the arms and right foot down. Shake out the legs.
- Repeat steps 1-6 but this time with the right leg as the standing leg.
- It doesn’t matter when the lifted foot lies on the standing leg as long as it is not over the knee. You will still get the benefits of the posture with the foot at the ankle.
- The gaze can be straight ahead, try not to look at the floor. However, if you want more of a challenge lift the drishti upwards, or close your eyes.
- The two sides may feel very different, most of us have one side which feels easier in this posture.
- Use your arms to give you what your body needs: upwards for a stretch, behind you for chest-opening, hips for stability, etc. Just keep your shoulders down away from your ears. You can have different arm positions on the different legs if you wish.