Essential Features of the Pose
(These are the gross elements that make the pose what it is, regardless of the props being used to support the body or of minor variations of the limbs. If a given shape the body is in is made up of a majority of these features, it can be considered a variation of this pose.)
- One foot is turned into the midline of the body (the “back foot”), one foot is turned out away from that midline (the “front foot”).
- The back thigh is turned in, while the front thigh is turned out.
- The back leg is straight while the front leg is bent.
- The hip of the front leg is flexed, while the hip of the back leg is neutral (neither flexed nor extended).
- The front knee is stacked up over the front ankle.
- Both sides of the torso are lengthening towards the head.
- The pelvis is slightly turned down while the rib cage is open to the side.
- The front, or lower arm is reaching sideways out from the shoulder. The hand is supported.
- The back, or top arm is reaching over the head.
- The top arm, top side of the torso and back leg make a single line.
- Tones the ankles, knees and thighs
- Corrects defects in the calves and thighs
- Develops the chest and reduces fat around the waist and hips
- Relieves sciatic and arthritic pains
- Increases peristaltic activity and aids elimination
- Enhances lung capacity
- Tones the muscles of the heart
- Raises kapha and pitta
- Balances vata
- Strongly grounding and energizing.
- Heating to the body.
- Mildly activating to the sympathetic nervous system.
- Balance the weight evenly through the inner and outer edges of the feet.
- Balance all three arches of each foot: the inner, outer and transverse arches, lifting, widening and lengthening them evenly.
- Lengthen your toes forward and your heels back.
- Widen across the fronts of your heels.
- The weight in the feet will be affected by what is happening in the knees. If the knee joint is pushing back towards the heel, the weight will go back and you will lose the reach through your toes and support of the transverse arch. If the knee pushes forward, you will loose the front of the heel.
- In both legs, allow the knees to soften from back to front, away from the ankles and the hips.
- Allow your kneecaps to release away from your thighs, towards your shins.
- Allow your inner thighs to support you as, at the same time, you allow them to lengthen. With your inner thighs part of your awareness, soften and widen your buttocks, outer hips and lower back.
- Soften and widen your hip creases. Soften and widen your buttock creases, where the glutes and hamstrings come together. Balance the width of front and back.
- Soften your quadriceps and allow them to lengthen towards your knees.
- Widen your hamstrings and allow them to receive your thigh bones.
- Turn the hip socket of your front leg around the top of the thigh bone towards your head.
- Balance the weight evenly through the hip joint of your back leg.
- Lift the hip joint of your back leg up off the hip joint of your front leg.
- Lift the sitting bone of your back leg up towards the ceiling while sending the sitting bone of the front leg towards the bent knee.
- Expand the inner surface of your pelvis.
- Allow the front leg side of your sacrum to move away from your head, the back leg side towards your head.
- Allow your lower abdomen, below your navel, to widen and settle back. Allow the upper abdomen, above the navel, to narrow and lengthen towards your head.
- Allow your lower abdomen to turn towards the floor as your upper abdomen turns towards the ceiling.
- Soften and widen your lower back.
- Soften and expand the inner surface of your rib cage.
- Turn your xiphoid process (bottom of sternum) towards your navel, allowing your lower ribs to drape down towards your abdomen.
- Widen across the middle of your chest and sternum.
- Soften and widen across your upper chest and manubrium.
- Soften and widen across the eyes of your chest (the space around your collarbones and upper chest).
- Soften and widen the space between your shoulder blades.
- Lengthen your forearms towards your fingers and your upper arms towards your shoulders.
- Turn the bottom tips of your shoulder blades towards the front of your body while firming your outer shoulder blades/armpits in to the side seams of your torso.
- Widen your shoulder joints away from each other.
- Allow your collarbones to widen. Turn their outermost corners towards your shoulder joints.
- Balance your inner collarbones, by either turning them towards your head or your navel. Turning them towards your head will widen and open the top of your chest more, while turning them away from your head will soften and release the op of your chest more. Experiment with turning them in opposite directions.
- Allow your neck to be free. Let there be even space all around it.
- Find and soften the area around the top of your spine, between your ears and behind the bridge of your nose.
- Soften the back of your neck and allow the back of your head to release away from your upper back.
- Soften your jaw and tongue and allow them to release forward so that your throat can be free.
- If working on turning the head, experiment with turning the eye and/or ear that is closest to the floor towards the ceiling. Once you’ve turned your head, re-apply all the previous head/neck directions in this new position.