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#PowerPose 27 – Aṣṭāṅga Namaskar

Aṣṭāṅga Namaskar or Knees Chest Chin Pose is the PowerPose focus this week.  It is many times used as part of Sūrya Namaskar or Sun Salutation.  For many yogis, It’s a bit more accessible than Caturanga Daṇḍāsana, but still offers plenty of challenge.  Knees Chest Chin is slightly awkward, so it’s a good opportunity to make sure you’ve checked your ego and are focusing on how the pose feels in your body.

Maintaining proper form while cultivating range of motion and strength is essential for creating a long lasting practice. This pose requires strength for bearing weight through the shoulders and hands, grounding of the knees and feet, and a back bend.  With the variations and modifications maintain the integrity of the movement.  This will make more challenging variations and poses accessible in the long run.

Try these Aṣṭāṅga Namaskar Variations:

IMG_2072_2Option 1 – Knee Caturanga Daṇḍāsana.  From high plank, release the knees to the mat.  Bend the elbows to about 90*, reaching the heart to hover over the fingertips.  Keep the legs grounded and active as you lift the belly and ribs away from the floor.  Press back up to the top of knee plank or lower to the belly.

IMG_2070Option 2 – Chest on Block.  Place a block between your hands.  From all fours lower the chest to the block.  Keep the tail lifted, creating an arch in the back.  With the support of the block focus on the hug of the elbows and broadening of the collarbone and shoulders.

IMG_2063_2Option 3 – Aṣṭāṅga Namaskar.
Ground through the feet and keep the hips high.  Bend the elbows and reach the heart between the hands.  Keep the shoulders broad and traps reaching down the back.  Touch the sternum gently to the mat.  Hover for a few breaths, then snake forward to cobra.

IMG_2066_2Option 4 – Extend One Leg.
When you are ready for additional challenge come into Knees Chest Chin, then slowly extend one leg.  Try to keep the body still has you move the leg and change the shape of the pose.  Take several breaths, then switch legs.

Try adding Knees Chest Chin to your Surya Namaskar or Vinyasa practice instead of Caturanga Daṇḍāsana.  You might find a new challenge as you flow.  Follow this #PowerPose challenge @suzannewrightyoga on Instagram or at Suzanne Wright Yoga on Facebook.  If you post your pictures or about your experience be sure to tag #PowerPose and @suzannewrightyoga.

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