August Pose of the Month
Ardha Padma Prapadasna - Half Lotus Tiptoe Pose
Ardha - (Half) Padma - (Lotus) Pra - (Forward/Before) Pad - (Foot) Asana - (Pose)
Time to get back on our feet this month by opening our hips and improving balance at the same time. It is believed that the hips are the store house of negative feelings and suppressed emotions, especially those related to the amount of control we have in our lives. When we practice a hip opening sequence we are essentially creating space for new ideas and pathways to occur so we can start fresh when September hits perhaps with a greater sense of security and focus.
There is a lot happening in Half Lotus Tiptoe Pose, the two most challenging aspects of the pose is the amount of external rotation required in the hips and the amount of balance and focus that is required to stay in the pose. It's important not to take yourself to seriously when practicing this pose, it might feel at first that there is an internal earth quake going on as you wobble and shake but that initial tremble requires that you turn inward, steady your eye gaze and feel the rhythm of the breath so you can channel your place of inner peace and stillness.
Open hips are big part of a yoga practice because tight hips can place a greater demand and load on the spine contributing to many types of back pain. When we practice hip openers we increase the amount of circulation and range of movement in the hips, helping to ease discomfort in the back. The element of the hips is water so when we are stagnant and still for a large portion of the day they begin to dry up and become more rigid, in order to slow this process down movement is required. The hips like to move and sway in a fluid like motion very much like a river meandering through twists and turns, highs and lows, moving quickly like rapids and eventually coming to a calm steadiness towards the end of its journey.
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL BENEFITS
Improves sense of balance
Strengthens feet, ankles, calves, knees and thighs
Stretches hip flexors, hamstrings and groins
Strengthens core muscles
Strengthens joints in hips, knees, and ankles
CAUTIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS
Severe leg or hip injuries
Achilles heel injury
HINTS & TIPS
Use your fingertips for balance
If your knees or ankles don't allow you to go all the way down you can try Half Lotus Chair Pose instead to still receive all the hip opening benefits.
Don't sink all of your weight into the heel and calf, instead feel the action as if you were about to stand up
Use a wall for balance
Have a giggle and enjoy the process