The Barkan Method Hot Yoga Posture of the week!!
Awkward Pose, 2nd part (Utkatasana)
Beginners: Make sure your upper body is strong; tighten your chest, arms (triceps), and abdominal muscles before you go down on your toes. The higher you come up on your toes the more you are engaging the upper thigh (quadriceps) muscles. Keep your knees in the same line as your ankles. If you let the knees turn in or out you put too much pressure on the ligaments of the knees, which will defeat the purpose of the second part awkward, which is to strengthen the knees by strengthening the quads!
Intermediate: Every now and then take a peek in the side mirror and make sure your spine is straight. It’s hard to tell if your spine is straight when looking forward. But don’t look too long, a few seconds at most. While you’re looking, see if you’re arching your back. The hips should be in a neutral position, (scoop the tailbone), aligned with your lower back, (a straight line). This pose is easier for men, (usually women have the genetic advantage in yoga), so don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re a women-having trouble achieving the final prefect position. Remember, one benefits by effort and improvement not by performance.
Advanced: Get up on those toes as high as possible!! At your level this should make it easier because you’re engaging those muscles. Hold it a little longer then the teacher asks. Don’t be disrespectful; just stay a few seconds more to build better stamina and control. You don’t have to hold it longer in my class. Anyone who’s taken my class knows I’m famous for holding this one forever! I used to hold this one for sixty seconds but everyone was complaining that her thighs were getting too big so I cut it down to forty five seconds. Keep your hips two inches above your knees so you can see a little thigh in the front mirror. . I notice many advanced students and teachers go to low. If you drop too you’re not engaging the quads. It’s much harder, more effective and more importantly correct to keep the hips properly positioned.