Type : Sitting
Justification : Hip opener, hamstring, inner thigh stretch. spinal and arm stretch
Complimentary posture : Virasana, purvottanasana
Physical Benefits : Relieves stiffness in hips, legs, shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers. Tones the abdominals more precisely the liver, kidneys and spleen. Increases flexibility of all the arm joints. Stretches front of spine. Strengthens the leg muscles.
Therapeutic Benefits : Stabilizes blood pressure. Aids in digestion. Corrects curvature of the spine and rounded shoulders. Rests the front brain and heart. Relieves stress on the heart and mind.
Limitations : To be avoided if you have knee injury, diarrhea or asthma. Keep the outstretched leg firmly pressed into the floor as well as the knee to avoid over-stretching the hamstring muscles.
How To Practice :
Sitting in dandasana, bend your right knee to a 90° angle and slide your foot towards the pubic bone until your heel touches the inside top of the left thigh. To make sure your bent knee is pressed firmly into the floor and your right femur head is rotating correctly back, with your right hand, move the flesh of the right thigh back down towards the floor. Make sure your left leg is aligned with the left hip. The left foot should be flexed and broad, heel pushing away from the body. Place left hand just next to the left hip and raise the right arm above the head from the middle of the armpits. Lift the torso from the hips and continuing the stretch from the arms and shoulders. On the exhale, fold over the leg and catch the outer edge of the left foot, extending the stomach, ribcage and chest over the left thigh and knee. Using the left hand for leverage, start extending the torso towards the left and upward to fully extend the back, taking care to keep the right hip and knee firmly on the ground. Continue lengthening the spine with the rotation for 4-5 breaths. Release and come back to dandasana, placing both hands next the hips. Repeat on the other side.
Phase II : Repeat the same thing with the right knee bent. Once you’ve fully extended the spine and the torso is directly over the the left knee, pull the torso down towards the left foot, continually extending the spine and catch the inner foot with the left hand letting the forehead fall to the tibia. Lengthen and flatten the lower spine and continue to extend your arms from your shoulder blades. Lifting the elbows towards the ceiing continue to slide the torso towards the left foot. Breathe 4-5 breaths and come back to dandasana.
Repeat on the other side.
Keep the outstretched leg firmly pressed into the floor as well as the knee to avoid over-stretching the hamstring muscles. If your flexibilty won’t let you reach your extended foot then you can use a strap. Catch it around your foot and hold it as close to the foot as possible with the arms fully extended. If you do practice with knee issues, then avoid flexing the knee to the floor and use a blanket underneath the knee for support.