To move into Side-Reclining Leg Pose: start by lying down on your back. Roll to your right side and bend your right elbow, bringing your palm to rest under your head, propping your head up off of the ground. The body should be resting on the right side, in one-line, rather than rolling forward or backwards on the side of the body. Feel an opening under the right armpit as you reach and extend the elbow away from you.
Rotate your left toes up towards the ceiling (externally rotate the left leg) and begin to bend and lift the left leg. Grab the left big toe with your “peace” fingers, with the left thumb, forefinger and middle finger, and achieve a solid grip. Take an inhale breath. On an exhale, begin to straighten the left leg up towards the ceiling. Use a strap as an option for support. Secure a strap around the sole of the foot and grab onto the strap before straightening the leg.
Notice if the body tends to roll forward after straightening the leg. Extend the crown of the head upwards and extend the tailbone downwards, towards the extended heel in order to re-align the body, re-balancing in one straight line. Flex both feet so that the entire body is engaged in the pose. Stay here and breathe for 3-5 full-rounds of breath (one inhale and one exhale equals one round of breath.) Repeat the pose on the other side.
After repeating the pose on both sides, lie down on the stomach with the head facing down Rest the forehead on the palms in a restorative pose, Makarasana or Crocodile Pose. Notice the subtleties of the posture. Notice the lengthening of the spine and the relaxing nature of the pose, while the forehead rests on the palms. The breath begins to calm and feel the rise and fall of the chest in each breath. Notice how you feel after coming into Anantasana with mindfulness and intention.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga
IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.