Funny how just a little variation on a given position opens up a whole new world.
This week’s pose is a variation on a traditional pose that involves elevating your hips with a block.
You need: a block.
1. Set up the block under your hip bone. None of the vertebrae of the lower back should touch the block–just the hip bone. You’ll know you are in the right spot (hip bone-block contact) when having your legs vertical, as pictured, feels comfortable and effortless. Stay for two long breaths.
2. Now, instead of having your legs vertical, tilt them away from your chest/face. Squeeze your legs together to engage the inner thighs, your butt and your abdominals. Choose an angle for the legs that suits you for right now.
3. Lastly, lift the arms and bring them to the same angle as the legs. Keep abdominals, inner thighs and glutes engaged. Take six long, slow, deep breaths and then release.
Benefits: Tones the abdominals (rectus abdominus “the six-pack” predominantly). Releases tension in the lower back once you let go. Provides a gentle inversion by way of the elevation of the hip and legs.
Avoid if: Your hip or your lumbar spine feel strained in the position.
Final thoughts: This position by itself will not give you an abdominal six-pack. Not even a four-pack. But if you’re not doing anything generally for that area of your body, then it’s a good start. If a six-pack is abdominal enlightenment, then this pose is the equivalent of a decision to go look for the Bhagavad Gita.