Ardha Bhujangasana

{NOTE: originally posted February 8, 2010 here: http://faern-in-the-works.com/2010/02/08/pose-of-the-month-ardha-bhujangasana/ it was written as a FEBRUARY post- which it is now, so enjoy!}

Writing: Chrisandra Fox

Photography: Faern

Ardha Bhujangasana

This deep lunge, often called Anjaneyasana, for Lord Hanuman, resembles the sliver of light of the crescent moon, and powerfully links the downward flow of prana with the blossoming of the heart center.

Devotion, from the Latin “vovere” – to vow completely – implies discipline and enthusiastic dedication. The Hindu mythological monkey god, Hanuman, is a servant of love and devotion to the divine, and it is this servitude that empowers his incredible strength and heroic power.

In this powerful and deep lunge, as we apply the downward flow of gravity into the legs and the standing foot, we can receive the expansive warmth and spaciousness of the open heart and throat areas, awakening the wisdom in the lotus of the heart and connection to a love that embraces beyond condition.

Preparation

Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), with feet hip-width apart, and hands resting together at your heart in Anjali mudra. Feel your place between the earth and the sky. Become aware of your navel center and your heart center. Inhale from your heart to your navel, and as you exhale, return your awareness to your heart.

Exhale and release your arms to your sides. Inhale slowly, sweep your arms up overhead, and press your palms together. Exhale and fold forward at the hips into Uttanasana (Intense forward stretch). On an inhalation, lift and lengthen your spine to a firm back position. Exhale, and lower once more to Uttanasana.

The Pose

As you inhale, step your right foot back, lower your knee to the ground, and rest the top of your right foot on the floor. Bend your left knee and deepen the crease in your ankle. The front foot may turn out slightly to encourage a release in the groin. If your knees are healthy, continue to fold the leg into a deep lunge, so that your knee moves in the direction of your toes.

Root your left heel by drawing it down towards the ground. Depending on the structure of your ankle and the flexibility around the joint, your heel may not reach the floor. See how the heel is lifted in the photo above? Disclaimer – it’s an older photo, and after some years of practice, the pose has changed nicely. The heel is now down, and there is less strain in the throat. If your heel is lifted, you can place a blanket or rolled section of your mat beneath it, or, better, move your back knee further away from your pelvis to bring the front heel to the ground. You’ll find how this changes the sensations in your chest and throat as you arch back -more grounding yields more space and freedom in the opening.

So actively root through your heel. This action will encourage the grounding of your legs and pelvis, and create the foundation necessary for the circulation and blossoming of the heart energy.

Rest your arms alongside your torso as you begin to find the arc of the spine from the root of your pelvis towards your heart and the crown of your head. Relax your eyes and jaw and feel the drop in and down through your groin.

Use your inhalations to maintain your root through your legs and left heel, and to embody the space across your chest, ribcage, and shoulders. Continue to drop your heel down and back towards your groin. This will deepen the fold in your knee, and open the heart from your back body. Feel your back body become deep to support the opening of your heart into your front body. Imagine the petals of a lotus flower, and the slow, graceful unfurling of these petals from their base. The lotus is a classic image in the yoga tradition, used to portray purity, beauty, and the seat of the soul.

If there is no strain in your neck, then release your neck from its base at C7 as you draw your head back.

Imagine your spine as a cord of light now, radiating the expansive energy of your heart throughout your body. Can you feel the counter lift of your root and the natural tone through your navel center from your monkey tail as you explore this spaciousness and freedom?

You may feel some compression within your kidney area. Soften your kidneys down and draw them more deeply into your back body as you soften your front ribs.

When you are ready to come out, lift your head, plant your hands on the floor, and step back to adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog). When you are ready, step your right foot forward, and come into the second side. Then, step to Uttanasana, and slowly roll up through your spine to Tadasana.

Inhale the arms overhead, and as you exhale, return your hands to Anjali mudra at the heart. Feel into the center of your heart, resting in your awareness of the spacious, open, loving seat of your soul.


With special thanks to Michelle Duguay for her skillful insight.

Come and practice rooting into your heels and resting in the seat of your soul with Chrisandra Fox…

Chrisandra Fox teaches weekly classes at Yoga Tree, Yoga Garden and leads The Heart of Renewal Retreats in California and beyond. She teaches in Yoga Tree’s 200-hour Teacher Training.

Chrisandra@gmail.com

Faern is a mixed media artist, photographer and yoga practitioner in San Francisco. Visit her website, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Ardha Bhujangasana”
  1. Davidatlas says:

    Sounds / looks so delicious, I had to bust out one right after reading. Especially fun to say BOOO JAAN GAAAsana with a deep voice while in the pose.

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