COURTESY MANOA YOGA CENTER
This posture nourishes the thyroid gland and relieves tension in the neck, head and shoulders.
(Upward Bound Finger Pose) -- Stage 2 »
Urdhva Baddhangullyasana is a standing pose in which the fingers are bound together and the arms are stretched overhead. This pose is wonderful for creating flexibility in the wrists, arms and shoulders, and relieves tightness in the neck. People who work at computers, drive taxis, surf, style hair -- anyone whose activities cause tension in the neck and upper body -- will gain great benefit from this asana.
1. Find an even surface and stand with the feet together. Look down at the feet to bring awareness there. Line up the big toes evenly together and press them down. Keep the tension while dispersing the weight to the inner heels and outer edges of the feet. Distribute weight evenly on both feet.
2. Move your hands to the thighs and, looking at the thighs, press them back until your weight transfers to the front edge of the heels. Do not shift your feet. As you press the thighbones back, notice how the kneecaps lift and the legs become firm and straight.
3. Keeping the thighs in position, take one hand to the lower belly and the other to the buttocks. Lift the pit of the belly up and draw the buttocks down. This lifts the pelvis to a vertical position and minimizes arching of the lower back. Keep the legs firm and straight.
4. Maintain the position as you roll the thighs in so the knees point forward.
5. Spread and open the chest by turning the upper arms out, and bring the shoulder blades into the back. This is Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
6. Interlock the fingers all the way up to the webbing of the palms. There should be no light visible at the interlock. Straighten the arms and extend them forward, in alignment with shoulders. Turn the palms away from the trunk so the thumbs face the floor. Roll the forearm bones in to assist in keeping the interlock. Do not hunch shoulders; rather, pull the shoulder blades downward, away from the ears. Roll the upper arm bones out to achieve this. Arm muscles should feel as though they are gripping and entwining the arm bones.
7. Keep this grip in the arms and fingers while moving arms directly over the head in a vertical position. Do not let the back arch. Work to maintain Tadasana in the trunk. Lift the palms and arms to lift the trunk. This is Stage 1.
8. Next, inhale as you lift the chest and stretch the head back to gaze between the eyebrows. Stretch and open the throat. This action stimulates and regulates the thyroid glands. Hold for up to 30 seconds, working to keep the chest lifted.
9. With an exhalation, bow the head as you lift the sternum. Rest the chin on the notch of the sternum and gaze into the chest. Keep shoulders back and chest lifted. Hold for up to 30 seconds.
10. Exhale and bring arms down, then switch the interlock of the hands and repeat.
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.