The 3 poses in this week’s Art & Om installment are a wonderful stretch for the side body and a little bit of an opener for the chest and hips. In the style of Vinyasa yoga, there is a very flowy element, and these poses are typically found in variations of the Dancing Warrior Sequence. Tara demonstrates outside the beautiful mural at The Cupboard done by UNT Art Students!
To move into Warrior 2 from Downward Facing Dog, plant your left foot between your hands at the top of the mat. Allow yourself to get light on the finger tips, and begin to lift the belly off the thigh engaging the core. Hugging in the outside of the left thigh, and sending energy to the lifted heel in the back foot.
On an inhale the back heel will spiral down so that it is parallel to the short side of the mat and the front toes will stay facing forward. Extend the arms out wide, letting the shoulders continue to relax down the back, and the gaze begins to find a Dristi (focus point) over the front middle finger. As we draw the left knee out slightly to take a peek at those first two toes on the front foot, the left hip pulls back and in slightly to help open the hips. As you inhale think about lifting through the crown of the head, and drawing the shoulders over the hips, and with each exhale rooting down through the heels and engaging the muscles in the thighs.
Moving into Reverse Warrior, our lower body will stay the exact same and with an inhale the left hand is swept up to the sky. The backhand can make its way down the right leg, or find a half bind with the right hand coming to rest on the low back or wrapping around to the left hip crease. Reaching up from heart center and allowing the chest to spiral open with the breath will help increase the stretch in the side body. Gaze can be at the lifted hand or down at the back foot if you are feeling a little wobbly. Continue to be mindful of the core, using each exhale to knit in the low ribs and the action of pulling the belly button up and in to engage the abs.
Side Angle is another great stretch for the side body. From Warrior 2 we will begin to lightly rest that front forearm on the left thigh, and either extend the right fingertips to the sky or find a half bind in this pose as well, by bringing the back hand to wrap behind to the low back. So we don’t dump our body weight into that front knee, lift from heart center and try to create lightness in the upper body.
Bring both hands down to the mat, stepping back into plank where you can lift the hips up and back to the sky or come into chaturanga and rise up in a heart opener of your choosing.