June Pose of the Month

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POSE OF THE MONTH

Ardha Bhekasana:  Half Frog Pose

Ardha:  Half

Bheka:  Frog

Asana:  Pose, posture or seat

Do one thigh stretch everyday?  What?  In my yoga practice?  This is what I was assigned years back by my beloved teacher during a yoga teacher training.  We were to incorporate one thigh/quadriceps stretch into our daily asana practice.  She told us that if we did one thigh stretch (asana) everyday until our next gathering (4 weeks later), we would see a transformation in our practice.

So the pose for this month is Ardha Bhekasana or half frog pose.  Ardha Bhekasana is not only a backbend, but it is a thigh stretch and when done regularly, can give you freedom in many yoga poses.  When you stretch the thigh you elongate the hip flexors, protect the knee joint, create space in the low back (opening your backbends) and allow for greater opening in the hamstrings (deepening forward bends).

This posture is not just for yogis; it is a great compliment to any other sport, activity, or daily routine to keep this large active group of muscles open and stretched.

Instruction:

  • Lay on your belly with the legs hip distance apart.  Bring your right elbow below the right shoulder and cross the arm in front of the body, parallel to the front edge of the mat, palm face down.
  • Bend the left knee and take the left foot with the left hand.
  • If possible, take the inside of the foot (fingers over the top of the foot); or even pivot the left fingers forward and wrap the thumb under the big toe mound, elbow pointing up toward the ceiling.
  • Hug the right leg toward the midline of the body and flex both feet.
  • Draw the left heel to the outer edge of the left buttock.  If possible, continue to draw the left heel to the outer edge of the left hip.
  • Press the left hip firmly into the ground as you lengthen the left knee away from the body.
  • Turn the torso forward; lengthen the tailbone towards the back right foot as you lift the sternum, shoulders stay back.
  • Repeat on other side.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the ankles, quadriceps muscles and hip flexors
  • Protects the knee joints
  • Opens the chest and shoulders
  • Strengthens back muscles and opens the thoracic spine
  • Increases energy

Cautions:

  • Knee or hip injury
  • Back, shoulder or neck injury

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