Continued from: Technique – Postures and Breathing. Part I
POSITION 4: ASHWA SANCHALANASANA (EQUESTRIAN POSE)
Stretch the right leg backwards as far as you can. Simultaneously bend the left leg at the knee, but keeping the left foot in the same position. The palms should remain on the floor and the arms should remain straight. Beginners: If this is too difficult for beginners the palms can be raised off the ground, with only the fingertips in contact with the floor. This helps to increase the arch of the back. In the final position the toes and knee of the extended right leg should be in contact with the ground. Complete the movement by bending the head backwards and arching the spine as much as possible without straining. The movement should be executed smoothly and with awareness. Breathing: inhale deeply as you move the body.
POSITION 5: PARVATASANA (MOUNTAIN POSE)
Raise your right knee. Simultaneously lower your head towards the floor and bend the back so that the buttocks move upwards.
Stretch the left leg backwards and place the left foot beside the right foot. Then raise the buttocks as high as possible into the air and further lower the head so that it lies between the two arms. The legs should be straightened in the final position. Try to press the heels of both feet towards the ground. Throughout the practice the arms must remain straight, and the hands and right foot should remain in contact with the floor. Though attainment of position five requires the movement of various parts of the body, all the movements should be synchronized to form one harmonious and smooth motion. Breathing: exhale deeply as you perform the movement.
POSITION 6: ASHTANGA NAMASKARA (WORSHIP WITH EIGHT POINTS)
This position is so called because in the final pose eight points of the body are in contact with the ground. Lower the body to the ground, first bending the legs and placing the knees in contact with the floor. Bend the arms and lower the head and trunk towards the ground. Try to brush your forehead along the surface of the floor as you move the head and trunk forwards. At the end of the forward movement of the head and trunk, let the chest brush along the surface of the floor and rest the chin on the ground. Finally raise the abdomen and hips slightly off the ground. In the final position the eight points should be on the ground: the chin, the chest, two palms, two knees and the balls of both feet. The whole movement should be smoothly executed. Breathing: Hold the breath outside, i.e. don’t breathe in.
Continue to: Technique – Postures and Breathing. Part III