I went climbing last week for the first time in over a month, and blew out my arms in about an hour. Basically, I did what you’re not supposed to do when you climb, which is to overuse your arms and under-utilize your legs. So, for this posting I’ve decided to suggest an asana sequence for climbers that will both strengthen the legs and improve balance. Non-climbers may also enjoy this sequence!
1. Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
2. Fold forward into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend).
3. Grab the right toe with the right hand and stand up to Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A. Try coming up while keeping both legs perfectly straight the entire way. Hold for 10 breaths.
4. Open up the right leg to the right and come into Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana B. Hold 10 breaths.
5. Release the foot and hold the foot directly out to the side for an additional 5 breaths.
6. Bend the right knee and take the foot into the inner left thigh, coming into Vrksasana (Tree Pose).
7. Extend the arms overheard and hold Tree for 10 breaths. (Maybe close the eyes for fun!?)
8. Grab the right toe again, straighten the leg, coming back into Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A. 5 breaths.
9. Keeping hold of your right big toe, bend at the left knee and come all the way down until your butt is just an inch or two off the ground. I don’t think this pose has a name, but it should look something like this. When you come down, come down SLOWLY. Maybe do a 10-count and see if you can get a nice burn in the leg on the way down. As my teacher says, “don’t take the express train down” on this one.
10. Now, without placing your hands on the floor, push as strongly as you can through the left leg and come back to standing in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A. Again, try to do this slowly and smoothly.
11. Release the foot, and cross the right ankle over the left knee. Sit down into a one-legged Chair Pose. Hold 5 deep breaths.
12. Drop the chest to the height of the butt, and extend the arms forward. (Again, I don’t know if this pose has a name, but it should look something like this.) Hold 5 breaths.
13. Bend at the knee until you are sitting/balancing just on the ball of the left foot. It should look something like this. Take the hands to Namaste. Sit here for 10 breaths with the eyes closed.
14. Plant the hands on the floor and either come into Eka Pada Galavasana or just jump straight back into Chaturanga and take a Vinyasa.
15. Whew! Repeat on the other side.
NOTE: Some more pictures coming soon, plus, assuming the file doesn’t get to large, a video of the whole thing.
Disclaimer: I am not a certified yoga instructor, and the ideas and opinions expressed here are not intended to be formal instruction on yoga poses. If you plan to start up a yoga practice, or if you have one and plan to do any of the yoga poses described in this blog, please seek out an experienced, living, breathing yoga teacher to guide you with hands-on instruction.