Get Smart

In this first variation, you will learn to gauge how far you can raise the uplifted leg and stretch your hamstrings while balancing the alignment of your hips, pelvis, and lower back. Lie on your back with the soles of your feet against a wall. Bend your knees slightly and place your palms under your sacrum. Use your hands to slide the skin of your buttocks and sacrum toward the wall as though you were smoothing out and lengthening your lower back. Then push your heels into the wall and straighten your legs without losing the adjustment you just gave yourself. This adjustment gives an important sense of direction for you throughout the pose, so feel free to repeat it ifyou have lost the sensation of lcngtheni ng the sides ofyour lower back toward the wall.

Press both thighs down and sec if you can get them to touch the floor. Extend your calves toward your heels as you press the inner edges ofyour heels into the wall.

Bend your right knee into your chest, and place the belt around your foot. Hold the sides of the belt in each hand. Without disturbing your left leg, stretch and raise the right leg until it forms a 6o-degree angle to the floor. It should be easy to straighten both legs; if you're unable to, or if your right buttock lifts off the floor, lower the right leg a bit.

As you press the front ofyour left thigh into the floor, turn it inward so that the inner thigh remains grounded. Extend from here as you press your inner left heel into the wall. See if you can be sensitive to the stretch in your left leg as you raise your right leg closer to a 90-degree angle. By developing this subtle sensitivity, you build body intelligence. If the front of the left thigh pops up, pause, and press it back down. Don't allow your ego's impulse to crank your foot closer to your head overpower that inner wisdom.

Extend from your calves toward your heels. Observe the right buttock. Does it still feel long on the floor, the way it did after you adjusted it with your hands?

Extend the inner thighs away from each other and the pelvis.

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