Monday, January 08, 2007

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana Part 1

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© 19962006
The Honolulu StarBulletin
Vol. 11, Issue 302 Sunday,
October 29, 2006

Yoga For You
Ray Madigan and Shelley Choy
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana

Stage 1 (Upward Expanded Leg Pose) » In this pose, the abdominal muscles are strengthened, and fat around the abdomen is reduced. The abdominal organs become toned and the back muscles are strengthened. This pose helps relieve gastric problems and flatulence.

1. Lie on the floor on your back with feet together and body straight.

2. Bend your knees and bring the feet close to the buttocks.

3. Use your hands to lengthen the buttock flesh toward the heels so the lower back feels long.

4. Stretch your arms overhead in line with the shoulders. Keep them straight and flat against the floor with your palms up. Stretch your arms so that your trunk is lengthened toward the arms.

5. Now, slowly extend the left heel along the floor, maintaining that stretch in the back until the leg is straight. Extend the other leg. Both legs should now be straight against the floor.

6. Stretch the arms and legs away from the body and feel the length in the trunk. Do not let your lower back arch.

7. Keep this stretch in the trunk as you bend your knees and take your thighs toward the abdomen. Do not lift your buttocks off the floor or allow your the back to round.

8. Now, keeping this extended spine, slowly straighten the legs until they are vertical.

9. To stretch the spine, extend the arms and press the leg bones away from the trunk. You should try and feel the same extension as you did when the legs were on the floor. Do not let the legs
move away from the vertical position.

10. Hold for up to 30 seconds without strain. To come out of the pose, bend the legs, folding the knees to the abdomen, then take your feet to the floor. Rest and repeat. With practice you will be
able to hold this pose in comfort, then you will be ready for Stage 2, which we will show next week.

Remember, do not let your face or eyes get tense while in this pose and breathe softly. Learn to focus on the symmetrical performance of the pose so that your mind becomes absorbed in the moment.

Ray Madigan and Shelley Choy are certified Iyengar Yoga teachers and codirect the Manoa Yoga Center at Manoa Marketplace. Visit or call 3823910.

Manoa Yoga Center, the authors and the StarBulletin take no responsibility for any injury arising from the practice of these yoga postures. Readers should seek a doctor's approval before commencing this yoga practice.

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