As well as strengthening the abdominal muscles, this pose also works the hip flexors and spine. The strong muscular contractions are great for massaging our internal organs, and energetically this one works strongly on our solar plexus chakra. Think confidence, will power and discipline.
Sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose). Take your hands slightly behind your body, bringing the soles of the feet to the floor as you lift your chest. Sense a relationship between the belly and thighs drawing together.
Extend the arms beside your legs parallel to the floor. Come onto your toes, maintaining active thighs and abdominals.
Lift your toes from the floor keeping your spine long, tailbone lengthened and abdominals engaged as the chest lifts. Find balance and a steady breath.
Slowly your lift shins to parallel. If your thigh/belly relationship is maintained, straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle with your toes lifted slightly higher than your head. Squeeze your legs together. Internally rotate your thighs as you firm your outer hips for stability.
Broaden your collarbones as you gently lift your gaze keeping your neck in line with the spine. Hold for a few breaths (3 – 10).
To Perfect this Pose
We tend to see this pose out of alignment with the lower spine curling or the lower stomach doming. Having a long spine in sitting can be challenging let alone when we shift our weight back! Start with feet on the floor and work to press through the floor with the buttocks to lengthen the spine as the chest comes back. Then move onto toes. Then lift toes just off ground. Don’t lift higher unless you can maintain this length in the torso and activation of the belly. Another option is to hold the shins and press the shins into the hands creating a co-activation allowing the chest to open and more reach through the supports.
If your shoulders are hunching work to activate the shoulders blades by squeezing them in and drawing them down to create space in the neck. Keep the neck in line with the spine and lift the gaze to assist opening of chest.
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