Have you tried to perform the Heron yoga pose? It has numerous benefits, including stretching out the hamstrings and lengthening the quadriceps. You may find it a bit of a challenge. It helps if you can visualize the heron’s long neck as you enter the posture.
How to do the Heron Yoga Pose (Krounchasana)
The idea is that the raised leg resembles the long, outstretched neck of the heron bird. It may take some time for you to be able to extend the leg fully as you lift it against gravity. However, it is worth persevering.
Sit in Staff pose (Dandasana) and have both legs out straight in front of you. Turn your attention to your right leg and bend your right knee as if going into hero pose. The right shin should be resting on the floor and the right foot alongside your hip. Your toes should be pointing straight back. Keep your thighs parallel.
Bend your left knee and place the sole of your left foot so that it is just in front of your ‘sitting’ bone. Reach with your hands and hold the outer parts of your foot and try to extend the leg out fully. Lean back just a little but keep your focus on the left foot while drawing the abdominal muscles in so that they are fully engaged. Inhale and now raise the leg as high as is possible.
You must keep your spine long. Do not round it to compensate for ease in the movement. Lift the chest. Try to bring the shin of your left leg as close as possible to your face. Focus on the hold of this position and with each inhalation and exhalation. Allow the spine to become as elongated as possible. Hold this extreme pose for 3 to 5 breaths. Exhale and bend and lower the leg and return both legs to Dandasana. Repeat the process on the other leg.
Tips for the Heron Yoga Pose
You can try this posture against the wall as this will help you to keep the spine long and upright rather than rounding the back and shoulders. Use a strap around the ball of the foot if easier. A strap will enable you to keep the alignment and integrity of the pose. Bring the chin to the shin but bring the leg to the torso rather than taking the torso to the leg. If you are able, clasp the wrists rather than the foot.
Benefits of the Heron Yoga Pose
This posture provides a wonderful stretch to the glutes and hamstrings. In addition, the psoas and spinal extensors are strengthened. It also works on the abdominals and stimulates the heart.
Note: Avoid this posture during menstruation and if any ankle or knee injuries exist.