The flush of luscious spring weather brings with it green goodness and the daily wild chirping of birds, small and large, hopping from tree to tree and gliding high in the sky. Like the springtime, the asana practice reminds us of these feathered friends and their innate freedom. To take the forms that have been given their names is an invitation to enjoy our own innate ability to spread our wings and take flight. And, though our feet may never leave ground, our hearts can be given the wings of light-bearing thoughts and our spirits can soar despite all the dangers we may face.
Krounhasana, heron pose, is a hip opener, hamstring lengthener, abdominal massager, and overall challenging asana. To begin, sit in virasana with the inner arches of your feet cradling your outer hips. If your hips do not touch the ground comfortably sit up on a blanket or a block. If your knees hurt, sit with your feet in a cross-legged position.
Inhale to lift your left foot off of the floor and draw the head of your femur (thigh bone) more deeply into your hip socket by leaning your heart forward and rocking your pubis bones back. Spread your toes and exhale to extend your leg up and out in front of you. Extend the leg only as far as is comfortable for your hamstrings and low back while keeping your spine upright. Breath, enjoy, and switch to the second side.
As with all asanas it is important to stay aware of what you feel like and not what you look like. Take the form of the pose in stages and do not sacrifice the feeling of loft within for a strained and painful feeling on the surface.