So, I'm in yoga, I'm in downward facing dog, and the instructor says, "step or jump your right leg forward". Now, I know my foot is supposed to end up near my hand, but...how??? I find that it makes it part way, then I end up inching my toes up to get it all the way. Does it just come with practice and increased flexibility, or does anyone have any suggetions of how to get my foot all the way up there?
You kind of have to lift up on to your toes and and then flex your foot back so that you can spring your leg forward--sort of like doing calf lifts but in down dog and with only one foot. You might have to have your instructor explain it and demonstrate because it's best if you can see it done. I had a bit of trouble with it at first but it'll come to you and you'll think "oh! that was easy!" I don't think you need added balance or strength to achieve it. Just a little "spring in your step"!
Well, maybe I'll have a better answer after my yoga teacher training but I don't usually get my foot perfectly up by my hands in one fell swoop. It has gotten better with practice but I also have long arms and a long reach. If I put my foot exactly where my hands are, then often my stance is too wide. I think we all have different body lengths and leg/arm/torso ratios so what might be easy for someone with shorter limbs may not work as well for someone with long limbs. That's just a theory I have, however. :-)
Haha! A good question! I think it is partially about the openness of the hips, and partially, well, figuring out how to do it. Initially it's going to be 15 little steps up there. Eventually you'll figure out how to come up onto the back toes, lean more weight forward into your hands, hug the bent leg into your torso, and the momentum does the rest. Try that. But, like most poses in yoga, it takes a bit of figuring it out, "brain work" before we can get it right!
Obviously one cannot jump with only one leg while the other is rooted just as one hand does not clap. But that's on your teacher :-) So please just step one leg up. Jump two if you'd like, but step one.
But this is a question that has come up a lot lately. How does one get that leg from "Dog Pose" to "lunge". In short, it is the work of the torso stabilizing muscles (or core, yeeeck) and the hip flexors that "get" the leg from Adho Mukha Svanasana to Vanarasana.
Work your quadriceps either in specific poses for such things or as an emphasis in any pose where it's appropriate. In the meantime students who struggle can either do the walkie thing Lara mentions or use two blocks to increase the clearance for the movement.
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