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Why We’ve Been Doing Skandasana A Lot This Month

siobhanskandasawebIt’s no secret that the stress of the holiday season sometimes enables a person’s temper, which is exactly why we picked skandasana–God of War Pose–as November’s Pose of the Month. You’ve certainly come across some of these side lunges in a Powerflow Yoga class or two. Skandasana is a great stretch for your adductors and hamstrings, and it helps to prepare your hips for poses like Goddess, Frog and Garland. It also improves your balance and strengthens your core. Teachers love to incorporate this pose into a vinyasa sequence because it facilitates a dynamic flow. Like most hip-openers, skandasana activates the second chakra, Svadisthana, which is the source of pleasure and creativity. We all need more pleasure and creativity! Rejuvenate your body all month with this pose because we want to make sure you enjoy the holidays to the fullest extent. PFY’s got your back.

Since you’ll come across this pose a lot this month, here are some tips to enjoy skandasana a little more.

1. Plant both feet firmly down.
Skandasana is typically taught with the toes of the extended leg pointing toward the ceiling. You can also try planting the entire foot on the floor, and rooting down through the outer edge (think Warrior 2). You should see an arch on the inside of the foot, as this will help you to protect your knee.

2. Tilt your pelvis upward.
If your adductors are very tight, you will want to encourage lengthening along the inner thighs by anteriorly tilting your pelvis like in a cow pose. Focus on keeping your hips in line with your shoulders and your fingertips underneath your shoulders. From here, try to arch the lower back so that your pelvis is in the same position as it would be in Cow Pose or Downward-Facing Dog. It’s preferable to move your body from the joints closest to the spine, so anteriorly tilting your pelvis will safely lengthen your inner thighs.

3. Roll a mat underneath your heel.
If it is difficult to get the heel of your bent leg planted, consider keeping it lifted and rolling a mat underneath. Sometimes, movement is limited by the structure of the skeleton. Listen to your body–if there is a lot of pressure in the hip joint, rolling a mat underneath the heel will help alleviate some discomfort.

4. Looking to intensify? Consider a bind.
If you’re looking to take this pose to the next level, bringing your hands to anjali mudra (prayer) will force you to engage your core. Once you’ve stabilized your balance, you could advance further by binding your arms around your bent knee. Continue rotating your chest toward the ceiling to enjoy a juicy shoulder-opener.

Do you like skandasana? We hope we shared some info about it with you. Stay tuned for next month’s pose.

–Michael Simpson

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