Namaste everyone. My name is Katja Huiras and I teach alignment based Yoga classes at the Yoga Loft in Bethlehem. I’m very excited to share some ideas for the Yoga Pose of the Month with you today in the Lehigh Valley Woman’s Journal.
As we progress in our asana practice/the practice of yoga poses, we become more aware of how our whole body starting from the toes all the way up to the crown of our head moves, lengthens and expands in space. With this acquired sensibility we can make our movements and actions more precise and accurate for our poses. We find ourselves on a sure path to Sthira Sukham Asanam – this is a Sanskrit wisdom thread written by the ancient Indian sage Patanjali who organized the wisdom of Yoga in the Yoga Sutras about 1,700 years ago. Loosely translated it means that a posture should be steady and comfortable.
If you are interested in working on your alignment and like to pay detailed attention to your postural habits in the yoga pose VIRABHADRASANA 2 – Warrior 2 Pose, give the following instructions a try!
This is a powerful standing pose that tones, strengthens and conditions our legs. Our spine extends straight upwards over our legs while the arms reach out horizontally to opposite sides.
- Stand in the middle of your mat facing the long edge in TADASANA – Mountain Pose. On an inhale step or jump your feet about one and a half leg length apart. At shoulder height extend your arms out to the sides with your palms facing the floor.
- Turn the entire right leg and foot out 90 ° and turn the left toes in slightly. Make sure that your front heel aligns with the center arch of the back foot.
- Turn your navel, sternum and shoulders to face the long edge of the mat in front of you.
- Press the outer edge of your back foot down into the mat strongly so that the back inner thigh stays lifted and the whole leg remains straight at all times. On an exhale bend your right knee and move the right sitting bone towards its heel so that the shin is vertical and the knee is directly over the ankle—as you progress in the pose and your inner thighs become more flexible, you can also bring your front thigh parallel to the floor.
For knee safety, the bent knee should not extend beyond its ankle nor should it roll towards the inside or outside of its ankle!
- Keep your torso vertical by bringing the back outer hip into the pelvis and reach the left sitting bone towards the front heel to help lift the right hip off of the front thigh. This way you will not lean over your front thigh which is actually quiet common with yoga practitioners.
- As you lift your frontal hip points up towards the navel (notice how this lengthens the lower back), lift your chest as well.
- Now turn your head and gaze calmly beyond your right fingers.
- After a few breaths straighten your right knee, turn your feet, legs and head to face the long edge of your mat again and repeat all previous steps for the left side. Then return back to TADASANA – Mountain Pose.
Work in the pose:
- To prevent the front knee from drifting inward towards the big toe, keep pressing the big toe mound down and press the inner knee towards its 2nd toe.
- Lengthen the inner thigh of your front leg from the groin to the inner knee, draw the outer knee back towards the outer hip and press the front sitting bone forward. This keeps the front leg active.
- Throughout the pose keep the back leg straight, pressing it back and resist its inner thigh to the outer thigh. Reach both inner knees away from each other. You will notice how this action will open your hips and stretch the groins!
- Keep the sitting bones evenly distant from the floor by reaching the back sitting bone toward the front heel. This will prevent the charging forward of the trunk. Maintain TADASANA – Mountain Pose in your trunk by stretching both sides evenly upward. Roll your tailbone towards your pubic bone and keep your abdominal organs lifted
- As both arms extend away from each other, lengthen especially the inner arms. Continue a strong backward reach with your back arm to prevent the trunk from turning away from the front long edge of the mat and to also prevent the forward leaning of the trunk.
- Let the forearms spiral inward so that the palms face the floor and at the same time let the upper arms roll outward so the collar bones and the chest broaden
- Draw the shoulders away from the ears, down the back and let the shoulder blades press into the back
- Keep your gaze soft, your brain passive and your breath even
- Yoga, The Iyengar Way by Silva, Mira and Shyam Mehta, published by Dorling Kindersley Ltd, London, 1990
- Iyengar Yoga – The integrated and Holistic Path to Health by Tommijean and Benjamin Thomas,
published by XLibris, USA, 2008
Katja Huiras is a certified Yoga teacher who teaches Align+Refine Yoga classes at the Yoga Loft in Bethlehem. She received her 200 hr certification at the Yoga Loft and the 500 hr certification through the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA. In 2009 she was introduced to Iyengar Yoga and was intensely inspired by its method. Since then she regularly studies and practices with certified Iyengar Yoga teachers.