Enjoy a sense of openness and balance with these two poses!
Our pose of the week Bakasana Variation can be helped with a restorative Malasana first
Malasana can help to tone your belly and outward hip rotators whilst stretching the ankles, groin and the torso. The length that we find in Malasana helps us to comfortably reap the benefits of this Bakasana variation above. Bakasana strengthens arms, wrists, core muscles and hip flexors, whilst stretching the groin. Find your breath in each pose to bring a sense of ease whilst balancing.
If you suffer from knee injuries you may need to avoid Malasana. Also give Bakasana a miss if you are pregnant or have wrist injuries.
Plank Pose – and lots of it!
Step by Step Guide
Start in a squatting position with the heels turned inwards so that the toes and knees point in the same direction as each other outwards. If the heels don’t land on the floor, place a block underneath them so that you don’t strain the ankles.
Bring your elbows inside your knees and place the palms of your hands togehter in front of your chest. Press the palms together and use that strength to open the knees with your elbows. Let the knees go as wide outwards as is comfortable and let the torso snuggle itself forwards next to the thighs.
Feel as if your upper arms rotate outwards slightly whilst drawing your shoulder blades towards each other behind your back, this will help you to lengthen your breastbone upwards and find length and space in the front and back body. Inhale and exhale here deeply.
If you’re feeling comfortable, you can play around with slightly turning on the glutes to help open the knees out slightly further. Stay here for 6 breaths, looking to bring length along your torso and openness across your inner thighs / groin area.
Start from Malasana. Seperate your hands so that the palms face the front of the room, then come up on to your tip toes and start to lean forwards until your hands land on the floor in front. They will land where they’re naturally supposed to.
This is a really important step, with your elbows bent and your hands flat to the floor start to press your knees into the your upper arms, just above the elbows. Keep this pressure of knees into upper arms for the rest of the practice.
With this pressure of knees to upper arms you will be able to bring your weight forwards into your hands whilst keeping stable. Your toes are still on the floor but they aren’t holding much, if any, weight.
Play around with just lifting one foot off the ground and see how the balance feels there. Then lower that foot to the ground and try lifting the other on it’s own. If you’re not feeling very strong or balanced, you can stay here at this step.
If your balance is feeling good, keeping the knees pressing against your upper arms, lightly let the feet lift off the floor as your hands take all of the weight. It’s very important not to jump into this!! By tilting your weight into your hands, pressing the knees inwards, and engaging your core enough, your feet will naturally come to lift from the floor without needing a jump. If you jump, you might jump too hard and fall forwards.
When both feet come off the ground, look to bring the big toes to touching as you gaze forwards along the mat. By gazing ahead you’ll find it easier to lengthen your chest forwards and draw your shoulder blades back and down the spine.
Hold this pose for 6 breaths, or as long a you can whilst breathing deeply! To come out of it, land your feet softly and find your way back into Malasana.