Today's Daily Tip
To the Moon!
From there, hook your right thumb into the outer crease of your right hip and drag it away from your waist. This provides space for your abdomen to turn. Then take your upper leg 6 to 10 inches to the left, across your body. Bring your right arm to the floor, palm facing up. Pause there and observe the stretch into the outer flank of your hip and leg. You may feel your entire outer leg quake and tremble, but develop your staying power and aim breath into the area, visualizing bright red oxygenated blood flooding into your hip. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths or longer, and then bring the leg back up toward the ceiling, let go of the strap, and switch to the other side.
After you do the pose on both sides, repeat it, this time taking your right leg across your body and down onto a block so as to keep your sacrum level. (Taking the foot all the way to the floor makes the sacrum unbalanced.) You'll need to lift and pivot your pelvis so you can align your weight onto the outer edge of your left hip. Continue holding the strap (or your heel) with your left hand.
Stay here for 1 to 2 minutes as you reach through the inner edge of both heels. Firm your legs but keep your breath free and the diaphragm and internal organs fluid as you twist. The twisting action prepares you for the twist in Revolved Half Moon, which, because you'll be standing and balancing, will be much more difficult. So, focus on softening and releasing your abdomen while the floor supports the weight of your body. Also, use your exhalation, which gives the belly its power to churn and turn, to help you twist more deeply. To exit the pose, keep the right leg fully extended and swing it back upright. From there, release the strap and repeat the pose on the other side.
Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III)
The key to Revolved Half Moon Pose is to make the hip joint of the standing leg resilient so that it can bear the weight that's placed on it. If you haven't built enough strength in that hip, your leg will ignite with tension, leading to a meltdown. In this variation of Warrior III, you'll use blocks to support your upper body and a wall to take some of the weight off your lifted leg, helping you to strengthen and stabilize your legs, hips, and sacrum.
Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your back to a wall about a leg's distance away from it. Have two blocks handy. Fold forward into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), lift your left leg, and press your left foot against the wall at hip height so that it's parallel to the floor. Inhale as you lift your spine away from the floor and place one block under each hand. See that your hands are beneath your shoulders.
Just as you did in Half Moon, build your pose from the ground up. Spring the arch of your foot upward. Then press the outer edge of your standing leg inward toward your inner leg. Next, imagine zipping up a long zipper from your inner ankle to your inner groin to help you lengthen the inner shaft of your leg. Lastly, shave the outer edge of your right hip back toward the wall behind you. Stay here for a few breaths, making sure that the whole leg works evenly; no part of it should feel slack.