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LOTUs

1 Parivrtta Trikonasana

(Revolved Triangle Pose, variation)

Start by standing with your feet parallel, 3 to 4 feet apart. On an inhalation, lift your arms out to the side in line with your shoulders. On an exhalation, twist and bend down to reach your left hand to the floor or onto a block near the outside of your right foot. Reach your right arm up. Stack your shoulders and your arms over the bottom hand. (To modify the pose, slightly bend the right knee.) On each exhalation, twist from the navel as you rotate it toward the ceiling. Stay for 8 breaths. Unwind and come back up to standing with your arms at your sides. Repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS When done with the feet parallel, creates a gentle release in the hips, low back, and thighs.

ASANA SEQUENCE BY ROI) STRYKER

This sequence opens the hips, knees, and ankles; stretches the hip flexors and sacral area; and orients the pelvis and femurs in a strong external rotation. Add warm-ups, Sun Salutations, and counterposes for a complete practice.

Contraindications include chronic knee or ankle issues, instability in the sacrum or low back, and (if the pose is done with a strong pelvic-floor lock) pregnancy.

2 Prasarita Padottanasana

(Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend)

Stand with your feet parallel and

3 to 4 feet apart. Place your hands on your hips. Inhale and lengthen your spine. Exhale and fold forward, placing your hands on the outside of your calves or ankles. Bend your left knee, lengthen the front of your torso, and move your upper body through your legs. Lift your sitting bones and draw them toward each other. Hold for 8 breaths. Do the other side, straightening the left leg and bending the right knee. Come back to Tadasana.

BENEFITS Opens the hips and lengthens the inner thighs.

3 Ardha Padmottanasana

(Half Lotus Standing Forward Bend)

From Tadasana, bend your right leg and place your right heel at the top of your left thigh in Half Lotus. If this strains the knees, place your foot In Vrksasana (Tree Pose). Flex your right foot and slightly bend your left leg. Inhale and lengthen the spine. Exhale and fold forward, bringing your hands to the floor or to blocks. Ground the big-toe side of the left foot into the floor. Flatten the lower back, elevate the sitting bones, and draw the shoulder blades In and down. Hold for 6 to 8 breaths, keeping a flat back. Inhale to come up. Release your right leg and repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS Prepares the hips, knees, and ankles for Lotus.

continued from page 118

Hindu iconography, associated with many powerful deities. Lakshmi (the goddess of abundance) is often shown sitting on an open lotus and holding another in her hand. The same is true of Ganesha, the elephant-headed destroyer of obstacles, and Lord Vishnu, who is said to represent the principle of preservation in the universe. And lore has it that wherever the Buddha walked, lotus flowers bloomed.

From such profound imagery, the yoga pose emerged. Scholars aren't really sure when the first mention of the asana was recorded. Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, written circa 200 CE, talks about the importance of finding a steady and comfortable seated posture to facilitate yoga's goal of self-realization, but doesn't mention Lotus by name.

This happens a few centuries later: In a work considered the oldest authoritative commentary on the Yoga Sutra, circa 400 CE, the sage Vyasa expands on Patanjali's idea of finding a comfortable seat. He makes reference to Lotus as one of n important poses (including Virasana, or Hero Pose, and Dandasana, Staff Pose) that can facilitate meditation and pranayama.

Lotus turns up again in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, written in the 15th century and thought to be the first text to talk about doing specific physical postures for health rather than just for meditation. Calling Lotus the "destroyer of disease," it lists the myriad physical and energetic benefits of the pose. According to the Pradipika, because of the way the body is "locked" into place, various parts of it in Lotus continued on page 122

4 Jathara Parivartanasana

(Revolved Abdomen Pose, variation)

Come to the floor and lie on your back. Bend your knees, lift your hips off the floor, and shift them 3 to 4 inches to the right. Straighten your left leg on the floor. With the right leg still bent, take it across the body. Elevate your right heel 6 to 8 inches off the floor as you work your right knee toward the floor; your foot should be higher than your knee. (This opens the outer hip area.) Lower your right shoulder to the floor and gaze to the right. On each exhalation, contract the navel and twist to the left. Repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS Loosens hip rotator muscles and prepares the pelvis and low-back muscles for full Lotus.

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Learn About The Healing Art Of Yoga. We need to give more importance to our health and the treatment of diseases. A big number of medicines treat only the symptoms of the disease, and not the base cause. As a matter of fact, the cause of a lot of chronic ailments is still being researched.

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