Figure Four Standing Pose/Adrha Utkatasana (Variation/Extension of Chair Pose and also called Half Chair Pose)
This is one of my FAVOURITE poses! It hurts SO good (as in, I can feel it really works and stretches tight, tight muscles – I was a runner for YEARS and so my IT band LOVES this stretch!!!), although it is NOT easy! (And remember- poses shouldn’t HURT like you are hurting yourself….push your edge and enjoy the uncomfortable feeling of a stretch but don’t go past your edge where you can hurt yourself)
BENEFITS of this pose:
- It helps establish a good sense of BALANCE- both on and off the mat
- It stretches the outer hips and glutes
- It really focuses in on the IT band and therefore great for runners and athletes in general.
- Tightens the core!!!!
- Like all standing postures, it helps strengthen the quads and ankles.
There are two main ways to enter this pose- through Chair Pose (Utkatasana) or through Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Lets start with Chair Pose.
1. Begin with feet together at the top of your mat.
2.Bend the knees and sit back into chair pose. Make sure to shift the weight back on to the heels
***(even see if you can lift the toes to ensure that the weight is shifted back and not forward- see how my toes are lifted, ensuring the weight is in the heel, and then I one by one places my toes down. This will also ensure you have YOGI toes- toes spread as much as they can be.)
3. Make sure the knees are stacked on the ankles. You should be able to see your toes. (Hands can be overhead or at heart centre)
4.Once you are in chair pose, begin to shift the weight on to one foot (lets start with the right foot) and root the leg.
5. Here, we lift the opposite leg (left in this case) and cross it over the right quadricep. (Your legs should be creating the number 4.
7. Focus on a Drishti point (something in the space that will not move) and once you have balanced, your hands can come to heart centre.
****If your balance is off today, and balance is so vastly different depending on the day, the time, things going on in our lives, etc., you can hold on to a wall to assist you.
1.Stand at the top of your mat in Tadasana. (Mountain Pose)
2.Root down through the right foot, bending the left knee. Even lift the toes of the right foot and one by one place them back down on to the mat to really ensure that the foot and leg is rooted to the earth.
3.Hands can be on the hips or down at your sides, as you bend the left knee and raise the leg up and over, crossing it and placing your ankle on the right quad.
4.Then focusing on a Drishti, begin to sit down into chair. Shift the weight back- same as above.
5.Hands can come to heart centre. Or start to raise them above the head.
Once you are in this position- you can then continue to bend until hands come to the earth if that is accessible to you.
OR, you can wrap your arms around the crossed leg. The inside of the right elbow comes to the sole of the left foot, and the inside of the left elbow comes to the oustide of the left knee- see picture.
You are essentially holding the leg with the arms wrapped around it. You should be able to pick the leg up and rock it like a baby (to picture how the arms should be situated….like below)
These extensions will intensify the stretch. Isn’t that YUMMY????? Your IT Band will thank you!
PS- you can also do this from a supine position (laying on the earth) but we will get to that version later!
Last night, the girls and I went to my dad and stepmoms house to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, and see their new place and also bonus my sister went with her kids so we got to spend time with them as well.
And the kids had pizza and caesar salad for supper! Yummy!
And cinnamon buns for dessert! Delish!
We got to spend time with my sister and dad and stepmom which was super nice!
We got to see their new place and it is so much bigger and beautiful. And bonus, there is a separate TV room so the kids can be playing in there.
It was HOT last yesterday, and I LOVED it but was reminded that our school does not have air conditioning and that I will have to wear layers and more breathier fabrics from here on out until the end of the year. The afternoon was a hot and sweaty one!
It also reminded me that now the girls are going to need more baths! Between the dirt, the sweat and the SUNSCREEN….they are going to be sticky for the next two months. But I CAN’T wait as summer time is WORTH it!
We stayed for quite awhile and then got home and the girls wanted their nails painted.
Today is another BEAUTIFUL day and I dressed accordingly! It is a half day for the students, so we go through all five classes in a morning, so the classes are sweet and short. Then, the teachers have PD for the afternoon. It is an interesting concept, in some ways it makes the day go fast, but in other ways it almost feels like by the end of the day, you have actually had the equivalent of TWO days, between teaching and PD and it can be a bit tiring.
And tonight- I have a hair appointment! It’s been a (fun) busy week, just one of those weeks where I have something or some sort of appointment almost daily. Because tomorrow, we have swimming, PLUS my nieces birthday party!
Also- I CAN’T BELIEVE it is May 16!!!!!! HOW are we ALREADY half-way through May?????? MAN! Time is flying by!
Ok, enough random facts! Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Blissful Bhakti Babe