Thursday, June 4, 2009

One-legged Yoga Pre-Tree Pose

Yesterday in my Pilates I learned a new yoga exercise to prepare for tree pose.
Call it Pre-Tree if you want.

I was wobbling on one leg, and hopping around like a young Ent. This helps make my tree pose sturdy and stable.

The goal of the exercise is to transfer weight to one leg without the femur sinking into the hip socket. Phrased another way: transfer weight from both legs to one leg without becoming shorter. I had no idea I became shorter on one leg than on two, until I watched the process in the mirror.

1) Stand in front of a mirror.
2) Check to see that your hips are aligned the best you can make them. If they aren’t make the necessary adjustments
First you are going to transfer your weight to your right leg.
3) Lift the heel of the left foot.
If you notice that you have become shorter, or the hips have lost their alignment, engage the inner and outer thigh muscles until you have regained your original height, and alignment.
4) Check the right ankle. If it has tilted or if it is wobbling, level it and engage the inner and outer calf muscles.
5) When all is steady, then lift the toes of the left foot.
Watch in the mirror the entire time. If you become shorter at any time, re-engage the thigh muscles. Stop when achy or tired.

Repeat the process with the other leg.

Yes, yoga is for relaxation, but that’s how you feel AFTER you’ve worked hard. The work of yoga is in lengthening and strengthening all the joints and muscles of the body.

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