Self complimentary posture.
Justification : Hip-opener
Physical Benefits : Stretches the spinal column, knees and ankles while opening the hips. Strengthens the back. Encourages grounding and a natural sense of ease.
Therapeutic Benefits : Eliminates stress, anxiety and mental fatigue. Calms the brain. Encourages inner calm and happiness.
Limitations: To be avoided if if you have chronic pain, inflammation, a recent hip or knee injury or discal hernia
How to Practice :
Start by sitting in Staff pose (Dandasana). Depending on the openness of your hips, place one or two blankets under your sitting bones bringing the edge of the blanket just next to the sitting bones. Bend your knees and cross the shin bones (tibias) in the middle and bring your feet just under each knee. Flex both of feet, keeping them under the knees and observe the compactness in the hip area. That’s the feeling we want to keep active in the pelvis. Observe your hip flexors and the height of your knees in conjunction with your hip bones. If your knees are higher than your hips, you need to sit on a height of blankets or another support that will allow your hip flexors to release towards the floor. Now let the feet relax a little and fall open with the soles facing the sky as much as possible. Observe how your thighs and shin bones are now forming a small triangle. There should be a bit of space between your hips and your feet. Gently pull the flesh of the buttocks towards the sides to firmly place the sitting bones on the support. If you need to, place both hands at the sides of your hips and lightly lift the pelvis up bringing the sitting bones to the front edge of the blanket. Place your hands with the fingers in cups just next to your hips and draw the elbows back thus rolling both the shoulders back. Elongate the spine and both sides of the waist expanding the sternum but keeping the stomach and the throat soft and relaxed. Line the back of the head up with the coccyx and soften the hip-flexors. Let the thighs and knees melt down into the mat, keeping the buttocks firmly anchored towards the floor. Place your hands on your knees palms facing up or down and continue to elongate the spinal column and the two sides of the waist, keeping the shoulders rolled back and the chest open. The pubic bone should be perpendicular to the floor and the tail bone untucked so that the chest can open. Keep the eyes soft and the gaze just in front of you. Breathe 10-12 breathsand then change the crossing of your legs and repeat on the other side.
If your hips are very tight you can use several folded blankets or a chair. Sitting with both feet on the ground, bring one foot up onto the opposite knee in a half-crossed legged position and hold this for 10-12 breaths. Repeat with the other leg.
If your back is caving in then sit against a wall. You can also wedge a block between the shoulder-blades and the wall.
Note : Although this is called « The Easy Pose » it can be more complicated than one realizes, as is often the dycotomy in yoga. J This is actually the ultimate posture in yoga for meditating. The purpose for the asana practice in yoga is to bring strength, flexibilty and discipline to the body ultimately so that you can hold a ‘simple’ posture such as this one comfortably for long periods of time, especially in meditation.