Yoga Pose of the Week: Baby Cradle

baby cradleThe more acrobatic of the yoga asanas are without a doubt inspiring and enticing. However, in order to accomplish such amazing postural stability a yogi needs to not only be strong but also open in the shoulders and the hips. A foundational preparation for all of the more advanced poses is the simple in appearance yet challenging in action baby cradle posture.

Begin sitting in a comfortable cross-legged seat.  As with all seated postures, place a prop under your hips if you find that it’s difficult to sit upright without rolling far back toward your low spine. This kind of support not only brings ease to your breath but also safety to your low back.

Inhale to lift your left foot off the mat, cradle your shin in your hands and sway it from side to side as if you were rocking a baby to sleep. As your hip opens up, begin to lift the shin higher and higher toward your chest as you move it from side to side. When you have reached a reasonable limit in the height of your shin, knowing that comfort is a relative term in your asana practice, place your left foot into your right elbow, wrapping your left elbow around your left knee and interlace your fingers (or hold the underside of your shin with both hands).

Spread your toes brightly while deliberately kicking your left foot into your right arm. Feel your left hip opening as you rise taller in your spine and root deeply down into the floor. Take ten to fifteen breaths, then either lift your foot higher in space perhaps bringing your toes to your nose or forehead, or release your foot to the floor on the exhale.

Switch to the second side and enjoy.