Vasisthasana / Inclined Plane Pose

Benefits: This posture strengthens the wrists, arms, shoulders and abdomen.  The final stage also limbers the legs.

Step by Step

1.  From Downward Facing Dog Pose, turn the heel of the right foot out and lay the outer edge of the foot down along the floor in a direct line back from the right hand.  Take the left foot to the floor in front.

2.  Let your body weight move forward toward your right hand as you transfer your weight onto it.  To be able to lower the hips to have the body in one straight line, your right shoulder needs to be exactly above your right wrist, so if necessary, return to DFDog and shorten or lengthen the distance between the hands and feet.

3.  Place your left foot on top of the right foot and extend away through both heels.  Turn the torso to the left as you reach the left hand toward the sky.  Don’t sag the hips down – use your abdominal muscles to keep the whole body straight.  Turn the head to look up at the left hand.  Secure the balance and stay in this position for five to ten breaths.

4.  Bend the top knee forward toward the chest and catch the big toe with the index and middle finger of the left hand.  Straighten the arm and leg upward.  If you can balance, turn the head and gaze at the big toe.  Hold this position for five to ten breaths.

5.  Exhale, lower the raised leg, release the toe and replace the right hand, then the feet back to stretch for a few breaths in DFDog.  Repeat on the other side.

6.  Counter pose: Wrist releases, Child pose.