Caution: Do not practice this pose if you have a recent or chronic ankle or low back injury. Also avoid this pose if you are currently experiencing low blood pressure, dizziness, migraines, or insomnia. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
Stand in Samasthiti with your big toes together and a slight separation of the heels.
Shift your weight onto your right foot.
On you next exhale bend your left knee, bringing your left foot to the buttock, and grasp the inside of your left ankle with the left hand. You can also loop a strap around the top of your left foot, and then hold onto the strap with your left hand. Draw your knees together.
Flex your right thigh and drawing your knee cap upwards, to make the standing leg strong.
Reach your right arm overhead, pointing your fingertips toward the ceiling and facing your palm to the left.
Keep the torso upright, the chest open and draw the pubic bone to the navel to keep length in the lower back.
When you feel steady and comfortable, begin to press your left foot away from your body, into the left hand as you simultaneously lean your torso slightly forward. Keep your chest lifting and continue reaching your right hand’s fingertips up toward the ceiling.
If you are holding a strap, walk your hands down the strap toward your foot until you can clasp the top of your foot with both hands.
Hold for 5-10 breaths.
Be sure to modify the pose as needed, and ease up if you feel any pinching or jarring pain, especially in your back or neck. Here are a few simple modifications that will lighten or deepen the pose for you:
If you can't hold onto the ankle of your raised leg, use a strap. Wrap a yoga strap around the top of your foot, then bend your knee and come into the pose. Hold onto both ends of the strap with your same-side hand.
If you are brand-new to the pose, practice Standing Thigh Stretch to gain the flexibility and strength needed for this pose.
If it’s difficult to balance, rest your free hand on a wall, chair, or any other stable object.
For a deeper stretch, hold your outer ankle with the opposite hand. For example, if your right ankle is raised, reach your left hand behind your body and hold onto your right foot’s outer ankle. Then extend your opposite arm forward and up.