SOAR LIKE A SAGE – A journey to Ashtavakrasana

This challenging pose strengthens the arms, wrists, and abdomen. It is named after the sage Ashtavakra, whose body was bent (vakra) in eight (ashta) places when born. While in his Mother’s womb, Ashtavakra heard his Father reciting mantras from the Vedas. As he was mispronouncing words, Ashtavakra would cringe and twist in pain. Speaking from his Mother’s belly, Ashtavakra corrected his Father, who took offence and cursed his son to be born with a crippled body.
UTKATASANA
(CHAIR POSE)
Stand with your feet together. Inhaling, bend the knees and extend both arms upward. Ground your heels, lengthen the spine, and feel your biceps move back by the ears. Draw the inner thighs together. Hold for 30 seconds.

1 Utkatasana

HUMBLE WARRIOR
Stepping the feet wide, turn one foot out, and the other inward. Interlace your hands behind your back. Exhaling, bend the front leg, bowing the body forward inside your thigh. Ground the back foot, lengthening the spine downward. Actively extend the arms away to open the shoulders. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

2 Humble Warrior

ASHVA SANCHALANASANA
(HIGH LUNGE)
Keeping the feet wide, set them parallel. Bend the front leg, bringing both hands to the floor. Keep your back leg straight, pressing the inner thigh muscles up to the sky. Feel the tailbone descend. Broaden the chest, whilst keeping the arms strong. Repeat on the opposite side.

3 AshvaSanchalanasanaHighLunge

CHATURANGA
Release your lunge, bringing the shoulders directly over the wrists, with straight arms and legs. Engage the legs, and draw the base of the abdomen toward the spine. Take an inhalation. Exhale, bend the elbows and lower the body toward to floor, keeping the elbows in. Inhale. Exhale, and press the arms straight. Repeat 5 times. To modify, place both knees on the floor.

4 Chaturanga

PARIVRTTA EKA PADA RAJAKAPOTASANA

Draw one knee forward to the same wrist. Slide the opposite leg backward. Square the hips, lengthening the tailbone downward. Bring your hands to a prayer position. Rotate the torso toward the front leg. Bring the lower elbow to the outside of the front thigh. Press into the leg, feeling the chest open as you gaze upward. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

6 ParivrttaEkaPadaRajakapotasana

ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA VARIATION
In a seated position, bend both knees. Draw one foot toward the opposite sit bone. Wrap the other leg over, resting that foot on the floor on the outside of the thigh. Place the hand of the lower leg beside your hip. Inhale the opposite arm upward. Exhale, rotating the spine and bringing the elbow to the inside of the raised thigh. Turn your gaze behind. Feel the spine ascend. Stay for 5 breaths, and repeat on the other side.

7 ArdhaMatsyendrasanaIII

ARDHA ANANDA BALASANA
Lying down, draw one knee into your chest, keeping the other leg straight. Reach up with your hand on the same side as the bent leg, and hold the outside arch of the foot. Draw the knee toward the armpit, creating a right angle with the leg. Stay for 5 breaths, and repeat on the other side.

8 ArdhaAnandaBalasana

ASHTAVAKRASANA
Begin seated. Bend one leg, and lift it over your shoulder or the upper arm. Place both hands flat on the floor, and begin to lift the opposite leg up, hooking both ankles together. Press into the floor, lifting the buttocks up. Move the weight of the torso forward, bending the elbows around 90 degrees, so the trunk is parallel to the floor. Squeeze the inner thigh muscles to keep a firm grip of the legs. Hold for 5 breaths. Release, and change sides.

9 Ashtavakrasana

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