Justification : Hip-Opener and back stretch
Excellent counter pose for backbends
Physical Benefits : Stretches the spinal column, hips, knees and ankles while opening the hips. Gently stretches the torso and back muscles. Encourages grounding and a natural sense of ease.
Therapeutic Benefits : Eliminates stress, anxiety and mental fatigue. Calms the brain. Relieves back and neck pain.
Limitations: To be avoided if if you have chronic pain, inflammation, a recent hip or knee injury or discal hernia. Also to be avoided by pregnant women. Do a wide-legged version of the pose and avoid pressing the stomach onto the thighs.
How to Practice :
Grab a friend !
Let your friend find a Child’s Pose on the mat and standing in front of him or her, have your friend clasp the back of one of your ankles with both hands. Now bend forward towards your friend and place the index fingers and thumbs squarely into the front groins pushing gently into the hip flexors. Keeping the clasped heel lifted for the moment, gently walk your foot back a few centimetres in order to create more traction for your friend in the back and both sides of her/his torso. Ask your friend to indicate to you if you can scoot your foot back further, creating even more of a traction. When you’ve reached a comfortable point, gently lower your heel towards the floor and start to breathe in unison with your friend. Don’t be afraid to lean into the front groins with your weight using the thumbs and index fingers. Breathe for 5-8 breaths and release the traction lifting the heel back up slowly and releasing the front groins.
Phase II : Again let your partner find Child’s Pose on the mat, big toes together and widening the knees so that the torso can drop in between the thighs and go towards the floor, keeping the buttocks heavy on the heels, arms actively stretching away from the torso fingers seperated and open. Come onto your knees next to your partner’s lower back. With the heel of the left hand, fingers pointing towards the heels and floor, press the coccyx gently towards the heels. Now position the right hand directly on the sacrum and gently press to relieve any pressure using your hands as a gentle release. Breathe in tandem with your partner for 5-6 breaths. Gently release and let your partner roll back up vertebra by vertebra. Now switch roles !