April 3, 2006
Nurture and nourish your internal organs with these three poses recommended by Allaine Stricklen, a therapeutic yoga instructor based in Miami. In this issue, the focus is “seated poses.” People often find it difficult to sit on the floor, but doing so reconnects you to the earth. The following positions will help support your knees, ankles, hip joints and spine. You will need two blankets or large towels to help with these grounding and nurturing yoga postures.
Dandasana: rod/staff pose
- Depending on your flexibility, place one or two
folded blankets on the floor. If you have tight
hamstrings or hips, sit higher.
- Sit upright on the front part of the blanket with just your
sitting bones near the neatly folded edge.
- Place your thighs together, your feet together, with your toes pointing straight toward the ceiling or sky.
- Make sure your weight is distributed evenly on both buttocks or sitting bones.
- Gently press the back of your knees toward the floor.
- Place your hands by the side of your hips with your armpits straight, and roll your shoulders back and down.
- Lift your spine and abdomen and heart upward. Lift your breast bone up. Keep your neck and head straight.
- Keep your face soft and relaxed as you breath steadily and slowly through your nose into your entire being. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to a minute. Mentally extend your body upward and forward.
Mind: Helps to center and ground you
Body: Great for your posture and helps bring mobility and flexibility to your hamstrings and chest
Soul: Rejuvenates, inspires and motivates
Baddha Konasana: bound angle pose or cobblers pose
- Sit in Dandasana (first pose), on one or two folded blankets, depending on your flexibility. Sit on the front folded edge of the blankets. If you have tight hips or tightness in the inner thigh area, sit higher. If you cannot reach your feet with your hands, use a strap or belt to assist you in this pose.
- Bend the legs one at a time, taking the knees out to the heels and the heels toward the perineum muscle. Press the soles of your feet together.
- Take your heels as close as possible to your perineum, making sure your knees do not feel strained.
- Widen your knees away from your hips down toward the floor, feeling your inner thighs and groin stretching deeply. (Important: you should not feel pain anywhere, just the stretching of the muscles. If you feel pain in your knees and or thighs, release some of the pressure.)
- Interlock your fingers and see if you can clasp them around your feet. If you are unable, try using a strap or belt around your feet to help you. Relax your inner groins and mentally extend yourself upward for a few breaths and then come forward, extending your head toward your feet.
- Hold the pose for one or two minutes, breathing fully into every cell and tissue of your body.
Mind: Stills and calms your mood and improves your focus.
Body: Nourishes pelvis and helps blood flow to lower back, hips, inner thighs, knees and ankles. Helps nourish the reproductive organs in women and the prostate gland in men.
Soul: Rebalances feminine and masculine energy.
Upavistha Konasana: seated angle pose
- Sit in Dandasana (first pose), on one or two folded blankets depending on your flexibility. Sit on the front folded edge of the blankets. If you have tight hips or tightness in the inner thigh area, sit higher. If you cannot reach your feet with your hands, ensure you have a strap or belt to assist you in this pose.
- Take one leg at a time out to the side and widen the distance between the legs.
- Gently press the back of your thighs, knees and calf muscles down. Make sure the middle of your thighs, knees and feet face toward the ceiling or sky.
- Place your hands either side of your hips. Press down into your hands so that you can extend your side ribs and chest upwards. Gently lift your spine and breast bone upward, moving your shoulder blades into your back. See if you can bend forward from your groin/lower hip and hold onto your feet with your hands, maintaining the firmness of your legs, but do not strain yourself.
- Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to a minute, breathing steadily through your nose into your entire being.
Mind: De-stresses and hushes the mental chatter.
Body: Stretches hamstrings, nourishes the pelvic region with blood, prevents the development of hernias and regularizes the menstrual flow. This pose is known as “a boon to woman.”
Soul: Enhances feminine energy.