Adho Mukha Swastikasana
(Downward-facing cross pose)
This simple forward extension creates freedom in the hips and is a boon for those suffering from stiff knees and backaches. As the head bows and comes to heart level, the mind enters a quiet, humble and contemplative state. Mental anxieties and stresses are relieved.
1. Sit on the floor and cross your legs, bringing your feet under your knees. Do not pull the feet in toward the buttocks. Your thighs should not be wide apart but should be moving toward being parallel and straight out from the hips. If your knees do not rest on your feet, sit on a height (like a folded blanket) until they do. The knees should now be at about the level of the hips.
2. Inhale and lift the torso, bend at the hips and take the hands to the floor in front of you.
3. Extend the trunk as you walk your hands away until your arms are straight and in line with the shoulders. Rest your head on the floor or on a support.
COURTESY MANOA YOGA CENTER
Shelley Choy, co-director of Manoa Yoga Center, demonstrates Adho Mukha Swastikasana, which relieves mental stress, back pain and stiffness in the knees.
4. If your back is stiff, sit facing the seat of a chair and extend your arms up and forward so you can hold the chair's back rest with your hands. Rest your head on the seat.
5. While in the pose, maintain the initial shape of crossed legs and keep your buttock bones on the floor. Work to lengthen the front of the body so that the back is long and not hunched.
6. Relax your neck and rest your forehead on the floor or support. Breathe softly through your nose, allowing your abdomen to soften and brain to quiet.
7. Hold this pose for a minute or more, then change sides and stay for an equal amount of time.
and Shelley Choy
are certified Iyengar Yoga teachers and co-direct the Manoa Yoga Center at Manoa Marketplace. Visit www.manoayoga.com
or call 382-3910. Manoa Yoga Center, the authors and the Star-Bulletin 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.