Today's Daily Tip
To the Moon!
Bring your attention to your upper body. Slide the front of your spine, from just below your navel, toward your heart. Do this without hardening your belly or sucking it back and up. Simultaneously, elongate the two sides of your tailbone away from your lumbar, toward the wall behind you. These two actions create Mula Bandha (Root Lock), which awakens the deep life force in the body. (To learn more about Mula Bandha, see Bound for Glory.)
Stay here for 5 to 10 breaths, then step your left foot forward to meet the right and rest in Standing Forward Bend. When you're ready, take the right leg to the wall and do the other side.
Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)
Revolved Side Angle is an excellent preparation for the final pose, as it requires you to twist, but instead of balancing on one leg, you get to balance on two.
Stand sideways on a mat with your feet four feet apart. Pivot to the right so that your hips are square toward your right leg. Remember, in any spinal twist it is essential to lengthen before you revolve, or you risk compressing your spine. To create space in your torso, reach your left arm up as if you could touch the sky, and lengthen between your hip points and your left armpit. Pause here, taking several long breaths, then lift your back heel off the floor. Deeply bend your right knee, hook your left elbow to the outside of it, and press your hands together in Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal). Either stay here or take your left hand to the floor as you press your left arm to the outside of your knee. From there, take your right arm straight up, then reach it over your right ear, with your palm facing the floor.
If your right hip pops out to the side—which often happens if you have tightness there—keep your back heel lifted and drop your right sitting bone down. Also, extend the inner seam of your back leg strongly. If it collapses, it can jam your lower back.
Breathe deeply and lengthen your spine as you inhale. Twist as you exhale. Wrap the left side of your navel toward the inner right thigh. Avoid tightening your belly or locking your jaw. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths, then place your back heel down and pull out of the pose with your right arm before moving to the other side.
Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)
Come back to Half Moon Pose, balancing on your right leg and hand. Then square your pelvis so that both frontal hip points are facing the floor, and simultaneously lower your left hand to the floor. When you move into the pose, keep the toes of the back foot pointing directly down toward the floor and extend out through the center of your back heel. If your left hip sinks toward the floor, lift that hip point and imagine you are balancing a cup of green tea on your sacrum.
Rest your right hand on your right hip and begin to align your standing leg as you did in the earlier poses: Spread your toes, press the mound and heel of your big toe down, and lift your arch. Pull the muscles of the outer leg in against the bone. Extend the shaft of your inner standing leg. At the same time, cut the outer right hip back toward the wall behind you.