Yoga Pose of the Week: Ardha Uttanasana Variation

Kelly Igoe in Ardha Uttanasana, by Zoe Zimmerman for Sundara Studios 2014

Kelly Igoe in Ardha Uttanasana, by Zoe Zimmerman for Sundara Studios 2014

Life is constantly asking us to explore.  Every breath is a deeper dive into awareness.  Like throwing a pail into the ocean of consciousness, with each cycle of breath we have the opportunity to exile ignorance. The asana practice intriguingly excites the exploration of our bodies and then in succession quiets the body, while meditations quiet the mind, and in the quiet the spirit experiences deep freedom.

Of course there are just as many mantras as there are asanas and variations of asanas as there are people. Each mantra, each asana, each variation, each person has something of value to offer at any given moment. In this variation of Ardha Uttanasana the hands are placed on the head, offering a grounding quality to the movement of energy in the body as well as a quieting to the mind, useful, as the nature of the posture is intense in energetic effort.

Begin in a standing forward fold with your feet hip distance apart. Inhale to activate and firm the muscles of your legs, lifting from the foundation into the hips as well as drawing into the midline. On your next inhalation bring your hands to the crown of your head and extend through the front and back of your spine lifting your torso to bring it parallel to the floor. Exhale to root down from your hips and out into your feet while you also extend forward through your spine and crown. Mindfully lift your sitting bones and your elbows as you simultaneously press into your hands into your head.

As you inhale repeat silently So. With the exhale repeat silently Ham. This mantra translates as I am that, and like the breath, pulls consciousness from the depths of ignorance into the presence of awareness.