Summer sun is around the corner and I love practicing this heart opening, joyful pose. This picture was taken at my friends’ Will and Jen’s Aerial Arts of Rochester studio. It tones our chest, abdomen, butt, thighs, calves, feet and ankles. It stretches our hips and groins It brightens your energy and reduces fatigue. Ignite your internal sunshine!
(Fit2bWell tip: Feel free to modify with a low lunge version by placing your back knee and thigh bone down onto a padded blanket. Uncertain about balance? Try with a high back chair in front of you as a guide. For a challenge, kick it up a notch by doing a variation with aerial yoga like I demonstrate here, with back foot on an aerial hammock.)
1.) Start in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog). Exhale and step your right foot forward between your hands, aligning your knee over the heel. Keep your left leg strong and firm. If you are would like to do a low lunge variation, feel free to start kneeling both knees on a padded blanket. Keep your left knee grounded, as you take your right food forward. Your feet should be approximately hips width distance apart. Similar to above, you should start by aligning your knee over the heel. Keep the ball of the left rooted, similar to the energy of the left knee and top of thigh. Pretend in both versions the back foot is stepping on to the back wall.
2.) Inhale and raise your torso to upright. At the same time, sweep your arms wide to the sides and raise them overhead, palms facing. Feel free to explore other variations, such as Namaste (prayer position) or cactus variation, where palms face the front, upper arms are parallel to the floor at shoulder height and elbows at 90 deg. These would work your shoulder girdle in various degrees and engage your shoulder blades with various degrees of difficulty.
3.) Be careful not to overarch the lower back. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor and tuck your pelvis softly forward. This will bring the shoulder blades deeper into the back and help support your chest and integrate the core into the strength of this pose. Allow your gaze to lift the heart upwards.
4.) Be sure not to press the front ribs forward. Draw them down and into the torso. Hold for 6-10 breaths.
5.) Transition back to Down Dog or knee kneeling pose after completion. Hold for a few breaths and repeat with the left foot forward for the same length of time.