November Pose of the Month is Anjaneyasana (AHN-jah-nay-AH-suh-nuh). It is a big opener, opening the whole front of the torso, including the area around the heart. This helps us connect with gratitude. It also opens the hip flexor on one leg, while stretching the gluteal and hamstring muscles on the other. A cornucopia of things are happening here.
In order to do this pose, the parts of the body that are planted on the ground need to really root down. Think of all the root vegetables that nourish our bodies at this time of year. As you root down, you will rebound up through the core – like a squash blossom blooming open.
- From Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), lift your right leg and then bring your shoulders over your wrists and your right knee toward the front of your mat.
- Try to step your right foot next to your right thumb. If it does not make it, take the right hand and grab your right ankle to bring it forward until you are in a deep lunge with the right leg forward.
- Lower your left knee and the top of your left foot down to the mat. Pause here for a moment to focus on rooting down with the right sole of the foot, the left shin, and the top of the left foot. Hug your hips in and engage your thighs toward each other. Lift up through the pelvic floor and lower inner abs.
- Start to lift the arms up. Continue to root down so you are not overstretching the hip flexor. Take the right hip back a bit.
- As you root down, let the arms reach up and back opening your heart to the sky. You can experiment a bit with your arms to see what feels best in your body. Palms can face each other with hands shoulder width apart over head or palms can touch as you reach up. You can even make a cactus shape with your arms. Stay here for up to 5 breaths, and then repeat this on the other side.
If you have sensitive knees, place a blanket under the knee that is on the floor. If it feels to deep or painful to reach both arms up, just place them on your front thigh.
Take a moment to bring to mind something you are thankful for as you are in this pose. Sometimes the gesture of the pose can deepen the sentiment, and this pose has a beautiful shape of rendering thanks.
Kristen Addicks has been practicing yoga for 25 years and teaches in Marin at Sukha Yoga, Some Like it Hot Yoga & Boutique, and Rolling Hills Country Club. Kristen believes that being out in nature is also part of the yoga experience. Therefore, she feels fortunate to have been able to call Marin County home for over 20 years. When not in a yoga studio, she can be found hiking or in some nearby body of water. Kristen leads yoga+adventure retreats where she combines yoga with adventurous activities in a beautiful location that includes sun, water, wildlife and culture.