Utthita Parvakonasana | Side angle lunge
We continue to apply the method of resistance stretching (PNF) as we move with our breath through each asana. This method strengthens the muscles and lengthens and creates space in the fascia (connective tissue). It also sharpens the quick muscle response in the nervous system which makes for more dynamic and quick response movement in the body, resulting in better surfing.
Starting from a lunge twist, bring your floating hand back down, resting your elbow on your the thigh, and reach the opposite hand up into the sky. Create a strong diagonal line from the back of your outstretched leg up through the floating hand in the sky. Keep your legs stable, contracting your inner thighs and drawing your hips open. With both feet planted into the earth, focus on feeling the outer edges of your feet and all five toes pressing into the earth, as you sink the hips a little deeper, strengthening the legs and opening the hips. Focus on keeping your upper body open.
Take a deep breath in, expanding through the rib cage and opening the muscles between the ribs and into the back. As you exhale, contract and move the air towards the spine and up into the upper belly. Continuing this breath, move the floating arm in a big backward circle and follow your hand with your eyes, while opening the heart. Keep the legs strong. Repeat this three or four times. Tune in to your shoulders and back muscles unwinding the tension and opening up space.
On the last exhale, reach the floating arm straight up. As if you are pulling your body up into the sky, breathe in and grab on to the imaginary rope with the floating hand – make a fist and pull toward your body, opening the chest and looking up toward your fist. Exhale and lengthen the arm back up into the sky. Repeat three or four times. Make sure to keep the legs strong, while pressing the outer pads of the feet into the earth and pressing the front knee open laterally while your hips open and sink further.
Release the floating hand back to the earth and back into the lunge twist where you started. Move through plank, up dog, and down dog in order to switch sides.
Repeat three to four times on each side to continue building your flexibility and strength.
All photos by Melody Haas.
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