Friday, January 30, 2009

Adho Mukha Vrksasana — Downward Facing Tree Pose

This is probably my favorite pose. There is nothing more invigorating than being up on the arms inverted to gravity and stable. To make it happen the hands must be spread wide and suctioned to the ground, arm bones flush in their joints, scapula set on the back ribs. From this base the myofascial core, deep and superficial, from the diaphragm to the pelvic floor contracts around the spinal column. The inner legs, through the heels, cut back. The knees open. Calve muscles lengthen toward the heal and the skin of the foot tightens, length and width-wise, from the heel to the toe roots. Thus, the core is effectively a continuum, from the base of the lungs to the ends of the feet. The launch position is downward dog. You can kick up with both legs to a pike before pulling upright. Or kick up one leg at a time. For example, from downward dog, bring the right foot a half a step forward. Feel the sense of spring in the joints of the toes, ankle, knee and hip. Kick up a few times just for practice. If this is new for you, kick up against a wall. In our example, the right leg is the spring leg. Being long and internally rotated within the hip joint, the left leg leads the body up into the inverted position. Blood roars to the lungs, heart and neck glands. Basil receptors kick in to regulate blood pressure. Confidence fills the body.

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