This is a heating pose that has multiple benefits. It is very strengthening for the legs, hips, back and shoulder muscles and strengthens the core as well. Importantly it gives a great stretch to each side of the back which in turn helps to decompress the spine. As we hold this pose and breathe we can feel how the strong base of our feet helps the upper body to be light and open.
- The easy version of this pose should be adopted by those who are pregnant or those with high blood pressure or heart problems.
- If your shoulders are tight you can keep the top arm down, maybe placing the hand at the hip.
- Standing at the front of your mat, step back with your left foot into a wide side facing stance.
- Bend the right knee and make sure the knee is still facing the front of the mat, not knocking inwards and the sides of the knee are directly on top of the ankles. If necessary widen or shorten your stance to accomplish this.
- Check that your pelvis is straight up and down i.e. not tilting into an anterior tilt to accommodate tightness of the inner leg muscles.
- As you lean to the side, line your spine up with the line reaching from the ankle up to the hip and reach your left arm up beside your ear so you continue that straight slanting line from the ankle, through the leg and back, right up to the finger tips.
- Keep this straight slanting line and rest your right hand or forearm on your right leg. Alternatively if your stance is wide enough and you would like a stronger pose, you can reach the hand down to the floor or onto a block beside your front foot.
- Stay here pressing evenly into all points of both your feet to take the weight. This will help to activate the muscles of the torso and legs which will support the pose and there will be no need to take any weight at all into the hand or arm.
- Try and hold the pose for 5 breaths or more and then repeat on the other side.
- Rest afterwards in a Standing Wide Leg Forward Fold.
By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training