According to Light on Yoga, this pose helps to cure sciatica and other defects of the legs. It tones the leg muscles, keeps the legs in condition and if practiced regularly is recommended for runners and sprinters. It relaxes and strengthens the abductor muscles of the thighs.
What are the muscles doing?
The hamstrings on the forward leg are intensely stretching and moving forward. While the quadriceps, psoas and hip flexors of the back leg are extending and elongating back.
When in this pose, make sure you are pushing through the heel of the front foot to really extend the hamstrings and calf muscles. Draw the psoas and abdominals into the spine and lift the rib cage up out of the hip bowl, so you do not collapse downwards.
More Prep Poses
1. Lunge with Knee down- if you have knee problems use a blanket under the knee. Starting off in a high lunge, lower the back knee down and walk it back slightly. Sitting up nice and tall, hands on blocks, push the hips forward to really feel the stretch of the quads and hip flexors.
2. Hamstring Stretch- from the lunge with knee down, press the hips back and straighten the front leg. Toes face towards the ceiling and foot is flexed. Blocks can either walk closer to the hips or forward towards the foot depending on where you are comfortable.
3. Is a variation of the splits if you need to be propped up higher. Like I mentioned last week, bolster and blankets work well here too.
See what progress I'll have made next week, plus other split variations!
To the left is a recap of my progression. Day 3 I was able to get a lot deeper into the pose. But I lost some of it as the week progressed. Still have some ways to go but it goes to show that my quads are very tight and require extra attention and loosening up when it comes to this pose.