Anjaneyasana – This backbend posture stretches the muscles at the front of the thighs, including the deep iliopsoas muscle, which is tight in many people. This intense backbend tones the kidneys and liver.
1. From a kneeling position, step the right foot forward with the knee bent so that the right thigh is parallel to the floor.
2. Extend through the front of the left leg. Stretch from the hip down to the knee. Extend from the knee to the ankle, then along the front of the foot through to the tips of the toes. With hands on the front knee, take the lunge deeper as you bend more into the right knee, so you feel the stretch in the front left thigh.
3. Raise both arms above your head, stretching all the way through to the fingers as you lift the chest. Have the intensity of the backbend comfortable enough so that you can lengthen the tailbone down toward the floor to increase the stretch on the front of the left thigh. Let the hips drop down another notch. Now increase your backward bend to your personal maximum.
4. The lower back is the part that naturally curves most deeply. Consciously bring the curve of the spine higher up into the middle back as you gracefully extend the arms back overhead and press your chest forward and up. Have your palms facing each other, or. if it doesn’t create tightness in the neck or shoulders, press your palms together.
5. Turn your face to the sky and direct your gaze upward. Stay here for a a few breaths enjoying the crescent shape that you are in. On and exhalation, release the hands back to the floor to come onto all fours. Repeat on the other side.