Challenge Pose: Krounchasana (Heron Pose)

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Powerfully stretch and strengthen your legs and turn your consciousness inward as you move step by step into Krounchasana.

Benefits
Stretches and strengthens the muscles of the legs; invigorates the abdominal organs while quieting and calming the mind

  • Step 1

    Step 1

    Sit in Staff Pose. Lean onto your left leg, bend your right knee, and bring your calf and foot toward your left thigh.

    See also Challenge Pose: Ganda Bherundasana (Formidable Face Pose)

  • Step 2

    Step 2

    Bring the center of your right shin to the floor, and 
your calf and foot to touch 
the right thigh and hip. Point your right toes straight back and spread the ball of the foot so that all your toenails touch the floor. Join the knees. Press your right knee, outer calf, 
and thigh toward the floor. 
If your buttocks don’t touch the floor, sit on a block or blanket. If your pelvis tilts to the left, place a blanket under your left buttock.

    See also 3 Prep Poses for Flying Pigeon

  • Step 3

    Step 3

    Exhale, bend your left 
knee, and hold your left foot with both hands. Keep your pelvis level, move your sacrum forward, and lift your side ribs.

    See also Challenge Pose: Camatkarasana (Wild Thing)

  • Step 4

    Step 4

    Lengthen your inner left calf from the knee toward the ankle to extend the left leg upward. Tighten the left kneecap, pull the left quadriceps muscle toward the hip, and stretch the left hamstring from the buttock toward the knee. Roll your outer left hip toward the floor, move it slightly forward, and sit evenly on your sitting bones.

    See also Challenge Pose: Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

  • Step 5

    Step 5

    Pull against your raised foot and spread your elbows sideways to lift 
the sides of your body and keep your trunk upright. Staying on the left sitting bone, exhale, move your head and torso forward, and simultaneously stretch your left leg up and draw it back. Keep your knee firm and move your thighbone toward the back of your leg. If possible, rest your forehead on your left shin. Relax your eyes and soften your temples. Release any tension in your neck and throat. When you pacify your senses, this pose can bring you to a state of deep quiet and profound inner awareness. Hold for 20–30 seconds, release, and switch sides.

    See also Challenge Pose: Ganda Bherundasana (Formidable Face Pose)


Tip: Stay safe

Your body speaks to you constantly. Although it is always important to be alert to what it says, pay exquisite attention when moving in ways that test your limits. Your knees and back can be particularly vulnerable in Krounchasana. To protect your back, continuously lengthen your spine upward. To protect your knees, set your pride and ambition aside and take support from props until you no longer need it. Ahimsa (nonharming) is the cornerstone of every yoga practice, so respect the shouts, sighs, and whispers your body sends.

About Our Pro
Teacher and model John Schumacher is the founder and director of Unity Woods Yoga Center, serving the Washington, DC, area since 1979. He studied with B.K.S. Iyengar for 33 years and was certified by him as an Advanced Teacher. In his 43 years of teaching, Schumacher has taught teachers and students worldwide. His clear, precise teaching style and engaging sense of humor challenge and inspire students to move beyond their imagined limits.