Posture of the week:

Balancing Staff

Warrior 3

Tuladandasana – Virabhadrasana 3

Beginners

Balance is all about strength. Start by strengthening your standing leg. The standing leg is the foundation for the pose; it must be straight. However, do not hyperextend the knee, instead lift the thigh muscles and keep your weight toward the big toe mound. Next, pick out a spot on the floor at least eight feet in front of you. Do not look straight down! If you look down you will round your upper back, we want your upper back flat to complete the tee-shape. Keep most of your breath in your lungs (80%) the entire time for more strength and control.

Intermediate

Your mantra is: “Upper Body down and leg up”! Ninety per cent of the students I teach have to bring their upper bodies lower and their legs higher. Next time your in class exaggerate the mantra, let the teacher tell you your upper body’s too low and your leg’s too high. As soon as you step forward point the toes of your back leg, feel the back arching, (this will eliminate your upper back from rounding) and lower down keeping the back arched and toes pointed. The ideal position is a tee-shape, so don’t exaggerate the arch, it’s just a drill for keeping your upper body horizontal.

Advanced

At this level there’s only one but very important correction to complete the position; lower the hip of your upper leg parallel with the other hip. Just isolate the hip area and rotate it down. If you’re properly aligned, you should be able to look at yourself in the mirror to see if you’re positioned correctly. Visualize touching the front wall with your chest, this will help to flatten the middle back as well.
Back in my day (walking ten miles through the snow to get to class in Beverly Hills) our hands were flat together not interlaced. Try it next time you’re in class, it changes everything, making it much more challenging. Don’t forget to keep those palms together!