Assisted Tarasana Variation

Suki Dalury (Yogi) & Genevieve Oswald (Assistant) in Assisted Tarasana Variation, Assisted Star Pose Variation (Omega Pose), by Zoe Zimmerman for Sundara Studios 2013

Suki Dalury (Yogi) & Genevieve Oswald (Assistant) in Assisted Tarasana Variation, Assisted Star Pose Variation (Omega Pose), by Zoe Zimmerman for Sundara Studios 2013

Assisted Star Pose Variation (Omega Pose)

It was the summer of 2005.  It was hot, sunny, and beautiful.  It was her first day of work at the café I had worked at for almost a decade and I was training her.  We had met briefly, but at the time I had no idea just how close we would become. I had a spider bite on my ankle, which over the course of our 7-hour shift grew from the size of a pesky bug bite to a football with a little volcano growing out of it. It was bad to say the least, and I was not accepting the level of severity.

“I’ll be fine,” I kept saying, confident it would be better as soon as I was able to get my leg elevated.  She convinced me to go to the hospital, which was an excellent idea, as it would turn out. Some little things sure do pack a big punch, and to this day I am grateful for that great assist I received that quite possible saved my whole leg. Yep, grateful for that assist at the beginning of what is now a powerful friendship, and the many more assists that have come along the way.

On that note, this holiday season you may wish to consider gifting your friends a great assist. All poses are beneficial for receiving assisting, as well as learning to put hands on in a lovely and supportive way.  In the spirit of the holidays we are invited to enjoy stretching out like the North Star and brightly light the path to the celebration of life and all that is good and life enhancing.

Yogi:  Sit with knees turned out wide and outer edges of the souls of the feet touching on the floor three quarters the distance of long legs out in front of you. Inhale to rise tall in your spine and firm your legs. If it is difficult to sit up tall, in your low spine sit up on a prop. Exhale to engage your abdominal muscles and draw your tailbone in toward your back body and up toward your heart. With the same exhale walk your hands down toward your feet and grab hold of your ankles, feet, or toes. Inhale once again to create space and use the strength of your legs to broaden your sitting bones back behind you while extending your sternum forward toward your feet. If you are comfortable and would like to go deeper, separate your feet about six inches apart. Exhale to stretch forward once again, rooting your hips back and down while extending the crown of your head to rest on the arches of your feet or the floor between them.

Assistant: Once the yogi is in the form of the pose, step into a wide squat behind them and place your hands at the tops of their outer hips. On the yogi’s next exhale, press your hands lovingly in toward one another and gently, but strongly, pull their hipbones back and down.  When assisting it is important to touch mindfully, aware of the quality; the embrace of the palm of the hand versus the pinch of a fingertip, and the comfort of supportive aid versus the repulsiveness of creepy hands.

Yoga is always great medicine through the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and a great assist might be the best gift you give to your loved ones this season.