Ustrasana is a pose that requires intense stretching and focus, making it a great pose for increasing flexibility and deepening concentration. However, it can be very challenging for beginners and those with tight hamstrings and hips. To help you prepare for Ustrasana, here are some simple preparatory poses that can help you work up to the full pose.
Wide Straddle Pose
Wide Straddle Pose, or Upavistha Konasana, is one of the best poses to prepare for Ustrasana. This pose helps to open your hips and upper inner thighs. To get into the pose, sit on your mat with your legs spread as far apart as possible and your feet flexed. You can use your hands to press against your legs as far as you can to get a deep stretch. Hold the pose for at least one minute or up to two or three minutes if you can. You should feel a comfortable stretching sensation in your thighs.
Seated Forward Fold
Seated Forward Fold, or Paschimottanasana, is another great pose to prepare for Ustrasana. This pose opens your hips and stretches your back muscles. To get into the pose, start in a seated position with your legs stretched out in front of you and your feet flexed. Slightly round your back and lean your torso forward, allowing your arms to reach for your toes. You can use a yoga strap to help keep you in the position for at least a minute or up to a few minutes. Feel your spine stretching and your back loosening.
Supine Spinal Twist
Supine Spinal Twist, or Supta Baddha Konasana, is a great pose to prepare your body for Ustrasana. This pose helps to open your hip flexors and the sides of your body. To get into the pose, lay on your back and bring your feet together. Put your arms out to the sides in a “T” shape. Inhale and draw your knees toward your chest. Gently twist to the right, keeping your hips on the floor. Stay in the pose for at least one minute and then switch sides. Feel the twist in the sides of your body.
Half Camel Pose
Half Camel Pose, also known as Ardha Ustrasana, is an effective pose that can help you to begin to build up the strength and flexibility for Ustrasana. To get into the pose, start on your knees and stretch your arms up over your head with your palms together. Keep your chest and head up, and take a deep breath. On the exhale, bend back and reach your right hand toward your right foot with your left arm still up. Hold the pose for at least one minute. The goal is to try to reach the left foot while keeping your chest and head up.
By gradually starting with these preparatory poses, you can safely build up the strength and mobility for Ustrasana. Remember, the more you practice and open up the body before practicing the full pose, the more you can reduce the risk of injury and gain the maximum benefits of Ustrasana.