form over depth

Standing Head to Knee or Dandayamana-Janushirasana

Now we begin the standing series with Standing Head to Knee, a pose that always gives me problems. We start with our left knee being fully locked and we can feel our kneecap rise up in the socket. Interlocking our finger we reach down and grab our right foot; pulling it up to our chest. With our left leg locked and right knee to our chest we balance on our left foot and gaze forward. After 15 seconds we kick our right foot out trying to lock our right knee. When our right knee is locked we drop our forehead to our right kneecap and hold the pose for 45 more seconds before returning our right foot to the ground. We switch to our left foot for 1 minute followed by repeating the left and right pose one last time. I have trouble holding my balance in this pose. Keeping your standing leg locked is key and having a solid kick with your other leg helps keep you balanced but I inevitability fall out of this posture and have to try again. Thankfully it’s a minute long and I have time to mess up two, three times.

Standing Bow Pose or Dandayamana-Dhanurasana

Starting with your feet side-by-side stick your right hand out with your palm facing up and rotate your shoulder to the right so that your forearm is perpendicular to your body. Grab your right ankle from the inside at the junction with your foot with all five fingers and stretch your left hand up into that air like you’re trying to touch the ceiling. Bring your left shoulder to your face, take a deep breath and kick your right foot back. As you kick back drop your left hands forward. You should be staring forward and in a mirror both shoulders should be in a line and your right toes should be above your head. This posture lasts for 1 minute before we switch our feet and repeat this pose for another minute. Again we repeat both postures for half the time. The posture requires a lot of leg strength and good balance as you will be standing there for what seems like eternity. I have trouble with my kick and an unable to keep my toes above my head for an extended period of time. This is a beautiful posture when properly executed and one that I have much room to improve on the in the upcoming weeks.

Balancing Stick or Tuladandasana

This is a quick, ten second pose on each leg. Standing at the back of your mat, raise your hands to the ceiling, step forward with your right leg three feet, lock both knees and pivot forward. From the side you should look like the letter T not like a broken umbrella. Keep your gaze forward, your toes stretching towards the back wall and your fingers scratching at the front wall to obtain a better posture. After ten seconds you return back to standing pose with hands above your head and repeat stepping forward with your left leg for ten seconds. Both postures are repeated again. This is a short posture so it’s imperative that you quickly get into hold and release from the posture or else you will miss out on the benefits. Sometimes I have trouble holding my balance in this posture.