New Preston, Connecticut. Anne and I get to yoga class early so we can begin the process of calming down, breathing more steadily, and stretching to better take advantage of the poses and vinyasas our teacher takes us through. Simply lying on one’s back and stretching one’s hamstrings, feet, and toes can do wonders.
The back end of lunge
Because our focus is generally forward we tend to overlook the back foot in a pose like lunge but how it’s positioned actually makes balance possible. I like to think that the energy of this pose can be seen in the position of this foot.
One of the most important stretches I do almost every day is this one. Lay on your back, stick your feet straight up in the air, spread your arms and slowly use your core strength (your abdomen) to lower your legs to one side, then slowly turn your gaze to the other side. Repeat this on each side a few times and you’ll be amazed at how good your back will feel. Anne’s face gives you a clue.
The bottom of mountain pose (tadasana)
Our teacher tells us to build this pose (and others) from the ground up and that means being aware of our toes, the balls of our feet, and our heels and how our weight is distributed along the length of our feet. Curling one’s toes up is a way of checking to make sure one isn’t "clenching" them into the mat which we all do at times. Anne has particularly good toe control and can move them apart and back together at will. I think about it but nothing happens.
Yoga sleep (Yoga Nidrasana)
Anne assures me that yoga is not about limberness and I understand her point. However, it would be nice to be half as loose as one needs to be to get into this pose. I doubt I’d get much sleep if I somehow got into this but Anne seems quite relaxed in it and I had to ask her to stop rocking so I could take the picture.