Akarna Dha­nurasana I

Cul­ti­vate strength, flex­i­bil­ity, and grace as you move step by step into Akarna Dha­nurasana I.

Yoga Journal - - YOGAPEDIA - Archer Pose I

A = Near, to­ward á Karna = Ear á Dhanu = Bow á Asana = Pose

BEN­E­FITS In­creases flex­i­bil­ity and sup­ple­ness of your legs and hips; massages your ab­dom­i­nal or­gans; im­proves di­ges­tion; builds con­cen­tra­tion, strength, and agility

IN­STRUC­TION

Be­gin seated with the soles of your feet to­gether in Bad­dha Konasana (Bound An­gle Pose). Re­lease from your in­ner groins to your in­ner knees, and draw your outer thighs gently back to­ward your outer hips. Take your hands or fin­ger­tips be­hind your hips, press­ing them down to lift your but­tocks slightly off the floor. Bring your but­tocks closer to your heels and then back to the floor. Wrap your hands around your toes, and draw your shoul­der blades closer to your spine. Sit up­right, and look for­ward. In­hale into the sides of your chest, and ex­hale all the way down to the lower re­gions of your pelvic floor. Af­ter a few breaths, keep your spine straight, and ex­hale, tilt­ing your torso and pelvis a lit­tle bit for­ward (an­te­rior ro­ta­tion). Take a few more breaths, and fo­cus on the re­lease of your groins and in­ner legs.

2 Use your hands to lift up your outer knees, and stretch your legs out in front of you. Bend your left leg, and grip the outer edge of your left foot with your left hand. Place your right hand against your left heel. Keep your left foot at armpit height, and press your hands against your foot to rhyth­mi­cally pump your left leg straight back and forth 10–15 times. This dy­namic pump­ing brings your thigh bone deeper into the back of your hip socket and breaks up some of the stiff­ness in the sur­round­ing hip and leg mus­cles. Fo­cus more on the ac­ti­va­tion and less on the align­ment. Change legs, and re­peat on the other side.

3 Ex­tend both legs in front of you to re­turn to Dan­dasana. On an in­hala­tion, lift your arms over­head, then hook your thumbs to get a good lift through­out your torso. Main­tain a lift in your trunk, and reach for­ward to hold your big toes in Padan­gustha Mudra (see page 50). Take a breath. Press your big toes into your fin­gers, ex­tend­ing your legs. Press the backs of your

legs down as you lift your in­ner arms up to­ward the ceil­ing. Ex­tend your trunk for­ward and lengthen your spine, pulling it to­ward your back body. Broaden your chest by spread­ing your col­lar­bones. Gaze for­ward like you’re an archer look­ing at a tar­get, and hold for 3–6 breaths.

4 Lift your left foot off the floor, and bend your knee and el­bow back­ward—as if lift­ing the bow with­out yet adding ten­sion. Bal­ance on your but­tocks, and ob­serve how a small lift in your left foot al­ready pulls on the fin­gers of your right hand so that it is harder to keep hold of the right big toe. Reach the right side of your torso slightly to­ward your right foot, and al­low the left side of your trunk to move in the di­rec­tion of an open twist. The but­tocks stay down but don’t need to re­main par­al­lel to each other.

5 Keep your gaze for­ward, and em­brace both the tar­get and the archer in you. Take a breath. On an ex­ha­la­tion, pull your left foot up and back to bring your foot close to your ear. Open your torso to the left side. Keep your left knee and el­bow par­al­lel as you move them far­ther back. The sole of your left foot will turn slightly to­ward your ear. Bal­ance on both but­tocks and ex­tend your in­ner right leg for­ward to­ward your right big toe. Feel the max­i­mum dis­tance be­tween your big toes as the bow tenses. Keep look­ing ahead. Hold for 15–30 sec­onds. Lower your left leg by stretch­ing it for­ward, and place it on the floor next to your right leg. Re­turn to step 3, and re­peat on the other side. End in Dan­dasana, and take a few deep breaths.

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