HOW TO PERFORM
• Sit upright with legs extended in front of you (Dandasana). You can bring your right leg into Ardha Virasana (Half Hero pose) here for the classical posture – I personally prefer to keep my right leg extended to protect my knee (as pictured).
• Bend your left knee and place the foot on the earth, just in front of the left sitting bone.
• Lift the ball of the left foot off the earth drawing the toes towards the shin leaving the heel down.
• Take hold of the left foot with the hands and lean back slightly as you press the ball of the left foot into the hands, keep the chest lifted and the collarbone broad.
• Inhale and extend the left knee elevating the leg diagonally to the floor, angled about 45-degrees, press down and forward into the seat bones to keep the torso lifted whilst activating the root lock, Mulabandha.
• To move into the variation from here, cross your right hand under the left wrist, taking hold of the outer left foot, with the right hand and continue to pull up on Mulabandha (root lock).
• Release the left hand and elevate the left arm extending through the elbow externally rotating the shoulder until the left arm is parallel to the earth in line with the left shoulder keeping the palm open to the side.
• Take the gaze towards the left hand as you continue to press through the right heel.
• To release, carefully release the left arm bringing it clockwise upward as you rotate the body back to face the front, catch hold of the left foot once more with both hands and lower down.
• Repeat on the other side.
• It is more important to keep the back straight rather than rounding the back in order to straighten the leg.
• If you have tight hamstrings, keep the knee on your extended leg bent, or wrap a strap around your foot and take hold of the strap with the right hand.
• If you are struggling to balance, try placing your free hand on the earth as you rotate the body around.
• Stretches hamstrings and adductors.
• Strengthens back and arm muscles.
• Improves sense of balance.
• Calms the mind and improves focus.
• If you have any serious knee or ankle problems, avoid the Ardha Virasana (Half Hero pose) leg position in this pose and instead perform as photographed.