Standing Head to Knee Tips

bikram-yoga_17-8-2012_114(Almost) Everybody’s favourite posture is here!

Standing straight, feet together, arms by your side, palms facing in.
Now, turn your right arm to the right, so the elbow is facing the body

and palm of the hand is facing out.
Raise your right foot up behind you and rest the ankle in the palm of your hand, fingers and thumb together tightly gripped around the ankle.
You can rotate your right shoulder back to encourage the opening of your shoulders.

Engage the standing leg by tightening your quad and also turn that core on (focus on pulling up on your pelvic floor while simultaneously pulling your belly button to your spine.) Keep the weight evenly distributed thought the foot, as you move into the posture do not let your weight fall back into the heel, keep this even distribution.
Make sure you knees are together as if in one line from the side and your hips are forward also in a line.

Raise your left arm up, palm facing forward towards your smiling face in the mirror. This arm should be solid and powerful thought the posture.
You will have heard the command ‘chin close to shoulder’ at this juncture many times. Do not move your chin to your shoulder but your shoulder to your chin. Your upper body is roating so your left shoulder is moving towards the mirror and your right back towards the back wall, opening your chest, however your lower body should still be in one line facing forward towards the font mirror.

Concentrate on one point in front of you. Laser beam focus.

Do not take your eye off this point for the duration of this posture.

Inhale, kick your right leg back, naturally your right shoulder draws back, opening the chest, creating a lovely arc in the spine, like an archers bow. Try not to let the knee kick out to the side but keep it moving straight back, all the while keeping the left side of your body engaged though the extended left arm and contracted left leg.

bikrammarch2016_223As you see your knee disappear backwards from view in the mirror, charge your body forward. Do not come down before this point, your upper body should still be relatively upright, although it may be at a slightly inclined forward due to the nature of the movement. Before you charge your upper body forward we are trying to create a back bend in the spine, which is achieved by kicking the knee back and up and allowing the opening of the right shoulder. Never come down with a flat back.

Making sure your hips are still in a straight line, right hip has not fallen back with arm and is still forward towards the mirror, now charge your body forward.

Charging your body forward means keeping the power and strength flowing through the engaged left arm as you move your upper body down,

aiming one day for the abdomen to be parallel to the floor.

Continuously keep kicking the right leg back.

One day you will see it appearing over the centre of your head.
Keep your left arm charging forward, chin to your shoulder, sternum to the mirror. Your aim here is to have both shoulders in one straight line (your left hand pointing straight forward towards the mirror).
Try to always keep your head straight, chin to shoulder.

Kicking and stretching should be equal and simultaneous, 50/50.

Remember to breathe in and out throughout your nose.

 Inhale lift and and lengthen, exhale go deeper.

If you fall out, don’t worry,  just get straight back in.

Kick back, body down, kick up, body down.

Change.

Here is a beautiful example of Standing Bow in all its glory

(that we borrowed from the internet, thank you internet).

One day this will be you (& me & all of us!)

DANDAYAMANA-DHANURASANA
standing bow

Benefits:

Stimulates cardiovascular system.
Increases circulation to heart and lungs.
Opens diaphragm.
Opens shoulder joint.
Helps frozen shoulder conditions.
Improves spine elasticity.
Improves strength and balance.
Reduces abdominal fat.
Helps regulate ovaries and prostate gland.

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