Stretch your ham­strings and open your hip flex­ors with these prep poses for Ardha Chan­dra Cha­pasana.

Yoga Journal - - PRACTICE WELL -

UTTHITA PARSVAKONASANA Ex­tended Side An­gle Pose

BEN­E­FITS Warms up your hips and ham­strings to pre­pare for the deeper in­ten­sity of Ardha Chan­dra Cha­pasana, our fi­nal pose

IN­STRUC­TION Take a wide stance with your feet par­al­lel to one an­other. Turn your left foot out 90 de­grees, mak­ing sure your feet are lined up, left heel to right arch. Place your left fin­ger­tips to the floor on the out­side of your left foot, and ex­tend your right arm over your head. (Al­ter­na­tively, place your left fore­arm on your right thigh). Keep the weight bal­anced be­tween the front and back legs as you breathe and elon­gate all parts of your body. Hold for 3–5 breaths.

UTHITTA TRIKONASANA Ex­tended Tri­an­gle Pose

BEN­E­FITS Pow­er­fully stretches your ham­strings while your leg is straight and turned out, in prepa­ra­tion for the same mus­cle ac­tion in the fi­nal pose

IN­STRUC­TION Take a wide stance with your feet par­al­lel to one an­other. Turn your left foot out, mak­ing sure your feet are lined up, left heel to right arch. Place your right hand on your right hip and ex­tend your left arm out in front of you. Firm your legs and bend for­ward, push­ing your chest for­ward and your thighs back. Reach your fin­ger­tips down to the floor or a block in front of you. Once your fin­ger­tips are grounded, keep your legs straight and ro­tate your left leg ex­ter­nally as you move your left fin­ger­tips be­hind your foot to the floor or to a block. Lift your right arm up to the sky. Keep your legs strong, and elon­gate your body in all di­rec­tions. Breathe and hold for 30 sec­onds. Re­peat on the other side.

ARDHA BHEKASANA Half Frog Pose

BEN­E­FITS Opens and warms your hip flex­ors and quadri­ceps to pre­pare them for the bow in the fi­nal pose

IN­STRUC­TION Lie on your tummy and prop your­self up on your el­bows. Bend your left knee and reach back with your left hand to grab the in­side of your foot. De­pend­ing on your up­per body flex­i­bil­ity, ei­ther stay here and pull your foot closer to your outer hip to stretch the front of your leg, or try slowly ro­tat­ing your el­bow to­ward the ceil­ing as your fin­gers slide over the top of your foot, so the base of your palm is press­ing the top of your foot. Be sure to keep your knee in line with your hip. To in­crease the stretch, main­tain a nat­u­ral curve in your lower back while draw­ing your but­tocks down. Be sure not to push your foot too hard if it hurts your knee. Hold for 3–5 breaths. Re­peat on the other side.

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