This pose is great for building strength and stability in the ankles and knees. It also strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles and spinal extensors and stretches the Achilles heel tendon and soleus muscles. Rotation and therefore mobility of the thoracic spine is also greatly improved, and the digestive system and internal organs are also stimulated.
HOW TO PERFORM
From standing in with the feet together (Tadasana), raise your hands to your chest into prayer position. Exhale and bend the knees so you are in a squat position with the chin parallel to the floor.
Now exhale again and rotate the upper body to the right and press the left elbow to the outer right thigh. Press thighs together and lengthen the spine by keeping the chest lifted and the chin in-line with the sternum. Also engage your bandhas by contracting your abdominal muscles. Now drop your gaze to the ground just in front of the toes to help you balance whilst lifting you’re your left foot up towards the left buttock.You are now balanced on the right foot only. Maintain the rotation in the spine and press the thighs together firmly to help maintain your balance. Also draw the shoulder away from the ears.
If possible move your gaze so you are looking again to the right. Hold for at least five breaths before lowering the left foot and returning to Tadasana. Repeat on the other side for another five breaths.
Practise with caution if you have either a joint problem or a major back injury. This should not be performed if you have high blood pressure.
To make the pose a little easier, keep both feet on the ground and gaze to the ground just in front of the feet.