It’s Hip To Be Square!

In our premier Friday Focus we learned a trick for straightening our Triangle pose. Today, we will delve into what makes a triumphant Warrior by concentrating on the hips.

In order to obtain balance in many yoga postures, it is useful to learn to square the hips.  Although this sounds very geometric, we are, after all, human in shape.  Therefore, we should remember that our bodies are variable and that some hips may never be perfectly “squared”.  But, as often occurs in the practice of yoga, we can apply modifications of the poses to work toward our intentions.  So, let’s look to these variations of Virabhadrasana I or Warrior I Pose as we learn to level our hips.

Since this is a balancing pose, we will begin by grounding.  Find a comfortable Uttanasana (forward bend) and keep the knees soft. img_1343Feel the feet root into the mat. I teach this as a preparation for Warrior I because it allows beginners to maintain contact with the floor for balance.

As you slowly begin to lift the leg, the tendency may be for your hip to rotate externally. This variation actually permits you to monitor the rotation of your lifted leg hip. Look back at your lifted foot. You will know rotation has occurred if you see the toes pointing outward. img_1344

Redirect the rotation of the foot so that the toes of the lifted leg point more downward. Then you will know that the hip is moving back toward neutral.img_1346

And, finally, using a chair for balance can give you more time in the posture to continue to work on the position of your hips.  img_1321

When the hips are level or square, Warrior I is much more accessible and true to form!

As a side note, I am very lucky to have my daughter, Valerie, home early for the holidays, as my model this week!

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Straighten Your Triangle

In an effort to provide my yogis with more information to continue their practices at home, I am introducing an addition to the blog called Friday Focus.  These posts will give me the opportunity to spotlight a specific yoga concept or pose that we have covered in class. I would love for these topics to generate an interactive community of commenters who can share their observations, get more clarification or even hatch new suggestions.

For this first Friday, I would like to detail a posture I presented in class this week.  It’s a variation on Trikonasana or Triangle Pose designed to encourage torso length and, overtime, balance side to side asymmetry, especially in cases of scoliosis. The main objective of this triangle pose is to supply more length to the underside of the body where we tend to collapse.

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  1. Begin standing with legs wide apart.
  2. Establish the Trikonasana stance: right leg/foot externally rotates, left leg/foot turns slightly inward.
  3. Then, extend your right arm toward a chair (or even a counter).
  4. Press away from the chair and stretch the right hip to the left.
  5. Move the top arm (or left arm) around the back of the body to encourage the revolution  of the torso.
  6. Allow the head to look up if comfortable.
  7. Return to wide angle stance and repeat on the left side.

After you try this elongated form of Trikonasana, feel free to leave us your comments or questions!

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