Balancing Cat-Ruddy Goose-Sunbird/Cakravakasana
An energizing pose that improves your balance and strengthens your entire body, stretching the arms and legs and aligning the spine.
Begin in a prone position on all fours (Table Pose) with hands directly under shoulders, fingers spread on the floor facing forward. Knees directly under hips, toes pointed back and the tops of the feet releasing/stretching(if this hurts put a rolled blanket under the feet) into the floor,
Inhale and extend one leg behind you, lifting to hip height, keeping the buttocks level and feeling the lift from the thigh with the pelvis even and facing the floor while stretching the heel of the extended leg (foot flexed). Exhale into the stretch.
Or when reaching a little higher try to hold the foot slightly above the buttock working on the hip extensors (Gluteus Maximus and Hamstrings).
Inhale and extend the opposite arm in front of you with the palm facing inward. The back should remain flat and your head should be in line with the spine, Lifting extended arm to shoulder height, reach with the extended fingers, crown of the head and exhaling into the stretch.
Hold, breath and work on bone density, building strong bones by finding your still point.
Once the still point is achieved you can challenge the stabilizing muscles by moving the limbs in circles, squares or slightly lifting the foot which is otherwise stable on the mat.
After balancing, challenging, bending extended leg and reaching back with opposite hand to see if one can hold the ankle, keeping the foot flexed. DO NOT become a contortionist when reaching back, the foot is either there or not and will be some day if the stretch is applied.
Be sure to keep the hips even and facing the floor, making sure not to lean into the leg which remains on the floor. Be aware to pull the abdominal muscles toward the spine to maintain stability in your pelvis, address the stabilizing muscles of the body.
Repeat on opposite side.
Flow to: Gate, Down-dog.
Physical Benefits: Strengthens the muscles along the spine (the paraspinals), arms, shoulders and opens hips. Improves balance and stability.
Mental Benefits: Enhances focus, concentration and builds confidence.
If balancing is a problem then begin with both hands on the floor and lift one leg or
Standing on one leg with one hand rested on chair and the opposite arm stretched long, hinge the body to bring the torso in line with reaching leg and opposite arm.
Wrist issues: put the heel of the palm of the hand on a blanket so the wrist is not bent or be on the knuckles with the hand facing inward.
Knee issues: use a pillow under the knee or the standing version.