MANOA YOGA CENTER
Nikki Armstrong demonstrates Purvottanasana -- Stage 1, in which the front of the body receives an intense stretch.
Purvottanasana --Stage 1
"Purva" means the east or front side of the body. "Uttana" means intense stretch. In this pose, the back of the body is extended and contracted while the front of the body is open and stretched. Purvottanasana belongs to the clan of backward extensions, and here we present the beginning stage. Next week, we will show the completed pose. Purvottanasana brings vigor to the spine and a sense of rejuvenation to the spirit. It helps relieve stiffness in the back after practicing forward-bending asanas. The shoulders are stretched and opened, and the wrists are exercised.
1) Sit on the floor with legs stretch out straight in front.
2) Place your hands a few inches behind the buttocks, shoulder width apart. Point the fingers forward.
3) Press your palms and straighten the arms as you lift and fully open the chest. Look at the chest.
4) Keep this open chest as you bend the knees and move your feet toward the buttocks until the soles of the feet are on the floor and hip width apart. Place the feet to face straight ahead.
5) Now re-lift the chest, press the feet and hands and lift the body off the floor with an inhalation. Contract the hamstrings until the thighs are parallel to the floor. Lift the buttocks and do not let your hips sag. Straighten the arm fully. Distribute the weight evenly on hands and feet.
6) Reaffirm the lift of the chest as you take your head back.
7) The lower back should not feel compressed. Work to keep your shins vertical to the floor by pulling them back toward your head. Do not let the knees protrude past the ankles. Lift the sides of the chest up and keep the shoulder blades into the back so your shoulders do not round.
8) Now breathe evenly through the nose, feeling an even opening across the front of the body.
9) Stay for a few breaths, then exhale and come down. Repeat a few times, working to increase flexibility and stability in the pose while maintaining evenness in the arch of the spine.
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.