Director – Jack Burnford.
Benefits: This pose strengthens the legs and mobilizes the hips. It stretches the torso and opens the chest to allow for deeper breathing. It’s great for stabilising shoulder joints and strengthening shoulder muscles, allowing us to keep lifting arms up and overhead.
Countraindications (Cautions): Headache, Heart Condition: Practice against a wall. Keep the top arm on the hip. High blood pressure: Gaze downward in the final pose. Neck problems: Don’t look upward; look straight ahead and keep both sides of the neck evenly long.
Step by Step
1. From Tadasana/Mountain pose – step the feet wide apart, approximately 3 feet apart, hands to hips for stability.
2. Turn the right thigh, knee and foot out 90 degrees. Turn the back foot inward 15 degrees. Inhale and raise arms to shoulder height, relax shoulders.
3. Exhale and extend the upper body to the right, push hips left. Keep your right hip on the same plane as your shoulders, slowly sweep down sideways and bring the back of the right hand to inside of leg, just above the ankle.
4. Rotate the torso left and raise the left arm toward the ceiling with the palm facing forward, gaze up toward the left thumb if comfortable for the neck, if not, look ahead or look to the floor.
5. Revolve your navel upward. Open the chest, breath deeply, feel a spiraling twist from the left hip upward through the spine. While you breathe in this pose, extend and lengthen on the inhalation, increasing the twist on the exhalation.
6. The back of the body is one plane, shoulders in line with right leg. Imagine the back of the head, shoulders and buttocks are all pressing against a glass wall while you press your hips forward. Stay for up to 5 breaths.
7. To come out, inhale, engage your core and scoop belly back toward the spine, allowing the upper body to lift you up to standing. Repeat on the other side.
8. Counterposes: Ardho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog, Uttanasana – Deep Forward Fold.