1. Prepare a padded surface, such as a yoga mat or a folded blanket or towel. Begin by kneeling on the floor. Step forwards with your right foot, advancing it about one foot in front of your right knee. Rotate your right thigh outwards by lifting the inner sole of your foot away from the floor and resting the foot on the outer edge.
2. On an exhalation lean your torso forwards, press your fingertips into the floor and slowly slide your left, knee backwards. Straighten the knee and simultaneously lower the right thigh towards the floor. Before you reach the limit of your stretch, stop straightening the back knee.
3. Begin to push the right heel away from your torso, and gradually turn the thigh back inwards so the kneecap begins to point upwards. As you straighten your front leg, resume moving the left knee backwards (being careful not to over-extend). Carefully lower the front of the left thigh and the back of the right leg towards the floor.
4. Check that your right kneecap is pointing upwards, and your left knee is pointing downwards, and that your left leg is extended straight back out from the hip, without being angled to the side. Once your legs are settled into the position and you are balanced, raise your arms up towards the ceiling.
5. Remain in this position for at least 30 seconds, or several breaths, increasing the duration as your ability increases. On an exhalation return your hands to the floor and release the pose. Repeat on the other side for a similar duration.
This pose stretches the thighs, groin, hips, hamstrings and calves, and strengthens the muscles of the legs. It also stimulates the organs of the abdomen. Mastery of this pose improves posture and digestion, as well as stress and fatigue, as well as increasing energy and counteracting depression.7
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