Did you know that yoga teachers sometimes draw out their yoga sequences, a set of poses within the practice, using stick figures? Well, welcome to Yogi Stix, a page where you can spy with your little eye a yoga ‘stix’ figure and a description of the pose to help you practice at home!
Stand tall at the top of your space, and bring your palms together in front of your heart, with thumbs resting on your sternum (the bone between the two sides of your rib cage.) Your feet can be directly underneath your hip bones, and legs apart, or your legs can be pressed against one another, with feet together. Press down evenly between both feet, rather than letting your weight shift side to side or forwards and back. Think about pressing down into the ball-mounds of your big and little toes, and your heel bones. Then, imagine lifting up the inside arches of your feet, as if to create a suction cup effect.
Activate your legs by strengthening your inner and outer legs the same amount. Contract your quadriceps (the muscles in the front of your thigh bones) by imagining squeezing your knee caps (patellas) up to your hip bones. Press your frontal hip bones slightly forward and together, and reach your tailbone down towards your heels to lengthen your lower back. Contract your belly by working your bellybutton back towards your spine (back bone) and imagine scooping it up behind your rib cage. Lastly, keep your chest broad, shoulders relaxed and allow the two front halves of your rib cage to feel as though they are softening together down your belly.
Hold for as many breaths as feels good; this is a really good way to breathe and calm your body before gently releasing to a seat or by laying down. This pose isn’t as simple as it may seem. While it can be accessible to anyone who wants to try it, there are ways to make it softer and really challenging, by focusing on the strength of muscles hugging your bones.
As always, remember that the poses are what you make of them, and I always encourage you to try to make each pose your own by listening to what feels good and what doesn’t feel good. Keep what is comfortable and let go of the rest! And grown-up yogis, please remember that this pose looks different in everyone’s bodies so let the kiddo’s bodies do what feels good to them – no cheating, let them find it themselves. ;0)