Friday, November 2, 2012

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

Sanskrit: Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana                  Western Term: Extended hand to foot

Origin of Word utthita = extended, pada = foot, padangustha = thumb or toe

Type of Asana: Standing Pose

How To:
1.     Stand in tadasana (mountain pose).
2.     Look for a point on the wall to balance. Inhale. Place the left hand on the left hip. Ground in the left foot and leg as you lift the right knee into the palm of the right hand.
3.     Bring the pointer finger, middle finger, and thumb of the right hand and wrap it around the big toe of the right foot in yogi-toe-lock.
4.     Bring the right hip out to the right side.
5.     Lift the shin of the right leg up, so it is parallel to the floor.
6.     Fully straighten the right leg while keeping yogi-toe-lock connected. Exhale. Extend the left arm out to the left side opening the chest up. Stay for 5-7 breaths. Exhale returning to tadasana and do the pose on the opposite side.

Body Points:
*Revolve the thigh outward
*Keep the upper body upright
*Stretch the right inner leg to the heel and draw the skin and flesh of the outer leg toward the hip

 Emphasized Body Parts: strengthens the legs, ankles, and lower back; Stretches the back of the legs; therapeutically good for osteoporosis

Mental Achievements: Improves sense of physical AND mental balance. Tune in to your intuition.

A little intuition inspiration...Shakira style

An aid for beginners: kramas or levels of a pose give us yogis with various levels options. For any given pose, there are various levels of difficulty. This krama that I offer is for beginners to the pose:
-hold this pose for longer by supporting the foot of the raised leg on the top edge of a chair back, padded with a blanket. Set the chair an inch or two from a wall and press your raised heel firmly to the wall.

Chakra: 6th chakra or Ajna chakra, which is indigo and symbolized by a two-petaled lotus.  Bonus: opens the heart chakra <3

The 6th chakra helps you tune in to your intuition. It is located near your “third eye” in the center of your forehead. Tune into this chakra in order to gain insights beyond the physical world.
Bija mantra or “seed sound” of the 6th chakra = om, repeat this mantra to see the world with greater clarity.

Ancient Sanskirt Proverb: “Flower has scent. Sesame seeds have oil. Milk has fat. There is sweetness in sugarcane. None of the above can be seen. Just like that, we can not see the soul in the body although it is very much there.”

In honor of my hometown NYC and my good friend, Anna, who reminded me of the Manhattanhenge (also known as the Manhattan solstice). And since this pose's element is light...seemed appropriate. 

Element: Light

*Do not do if experiencing ankle or low back injuries

After your balancing pose, enjoy a balancing smoothie. Here is a guilt-free recipe that I created. It’s easy to whip up (in your cuisinart or blender of choice) and delicious.

The color isn't the most appetizing but the taste makes it worth it ;) 

Ingredients: spinach, frozen berries, frozen strawberries, frozen pineapple, banana, stoneyfield vanilla yogurt (2 scoops), and orange juice

Sources: Viewed 10/30/12.

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