Health & Fitness

Side-angle yoga postures boost strength and stability

Yoga

Much of yoga is about practicing proper alignment and focus, so be precise when performing yoga postures. You should strive to feel centered while developing strength and stability in each pose. Here are two variations of a simple yoga move called the side angle. Stick with the first variation until you feel comfortable, then progress to the second.

-- Karen Voight

Step 1 Stand with your legs 4 to 5 feet apart. Turn your left foot out to the side and your right foot in slightly. Anchor each foot firmly to the ground. Keep your right leg straight and bend your left knee, lunging down until your hips are at knee level. Reach your right arm above shoulder level and reach your left arm to the floor in front of your left foot. Scoop your tailbone under your body and rotate your legs outward. Pull in your abs. Hold this position for three to four breaths, looking forward or up to the ceiling.

Step 1 Once your hips have loosened up and you are comfortable with the basic position, try this more challenging variation. Expand and rotate your chest up toward the ceiling as you lower your right arm behind your hips. Reach around with your right hand and try to grasp your left thigh. Without losing the rotation in your upper spine, raise your left arm off the floor, reaching out with your fingertips. Turn your gaze to the ceiling or look forward if doing so feels more comfortable for your neck. Hold this position for three to four breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Karen Voight can be reached at kvoightla@aol.com.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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