Ustrasana

Ustrasana

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Prepare a padded surface, such as a yoga mat or a folded blanket or towel. Begin by kneeling on the floor with your knees separated at hip width and your thighs perpendicular to the floor. Rotate your thighs inwards slightly by moving your feet slightly further apart. Keep your outer hips loose, and press the tops of your feet and your shins firmly into the floor.

2. Place your hands onto the back of your pelvis, with your finger pointing down and the base of your palms on the top of your buttocks. Inhale and lift and open your chest by pressing your shoulder-blades against your back ribs.

3. Lean back, keeping your head up with your chin towards your chest and your hands on your pelvis. Depending on the level of your ability, transfer your hands from your buttocks to your feet one by one, or for more advanced practitioners, at the same time (the soles of your feet if you are able – if you are not, then raise your heels). Take great care not to compress your lower back, and build up to this position over time.

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4. Lift the front of the pelvis up towards your ribs, and lift the lower back ribs away from the pelvis to make the lower spine as long as possible. Press your palms firmly against your soles/heels with your fingers pointing towards your toes. Keep your gaze forwards but upwards, supporting your head.

5. Remain in this position for at least 30 seconds, increasing the duration as your ability increases. Release on an exhale, bringing your hands up onto the front of your pelvis, and return to the original position. Rest in the ‘Child’s Pose’ before attempting to repeat this pose.

BENEFITS:

This pose stretches the muscles of the entire front of the body, including the feet, ankles, shins, thighs, groin, abdominals, chest and throat. It also stretches the deep hip flexors whilst strengthening the back and core muscles. Mastery of this pose improves posture and stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck, while helping to relieve stress and fatigue.

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