CHENNAI: This posture is very good to strengthen your thighs, knees and ankles as the body weight is equally distributed between the lower and upper body. Helps with sciatica and arthritis.Relieves constipation.
1. Side step with your right leg to turn 90 degrees or jump with your feet apart by 4-5 feet. Swivel your right foot out clockwise to 90 degrees and your left foot the same way to about 30 degrees. Your right kneecap will be facing the direction of your right toes.
2. Inhale and raise your arms up to the shoulder level palms down arms parallel to the floor. Beginners can pause here for a few breathing cycles stretching your hands away from you at every exhalation.
3. Now let’s proceed further: At the next possible exhalation bend the right knee taking care to keep the right knee joint directly above the right ankle. The right knee has a tendency to flop forward keep the right knee pulled back and directly above the right ankle by recruiting the thigh muscles. Keep the right thigh parallel to the floor. Keep the left leg straight.
4. Inhale again and as you exhale bend the upper body laterally to the right. Depending on how far you can bend, keep your right hand on the floor in front of the right foot or clasp your right shin/knee. Ideally your right armpit should be kept close to the right knee.
(You may also keep the right arm behind the right shin. I prefer the front placement as that allows me to use my elbow to push my knee out for a further passive stretch to the muscles in the inner thigh and a contraction to the outer thigh and gluteus maximus in the buttocks.)
Meanwhile move the left arm on an upswing taking it towards the sky/ceiling and over the right knee. The left arm and left leg will form one straight line.
5. In the final stage, look up at your left hand and hold for 30 seconds to a minute or two all the while breathing normally. Stretch the posterior part of your body. The lower body being locked the upper body should be allowed to stretch towards the uplifted arm. The chest to be opened up and stretched sideways. Even a few seconds of perfect holding give a feeling of limitlessness.
Deep breathing maximises oxygen use and it flows more when we stretch a body part as the oxygenated blood is directed there to aid healing/energise.
(Anshu Vyas Seetharaman is a fitness and yoga trainer at Sri Aurobindo Society, Bengaluru)