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Dru Yoga - Sharva Udarakarshanasana: the maltese cross

Are you ready for this one… Sharva Udara-karshan-asana! A long sanskrit name for a fantastic posture!

yoga-pose-maltese-crossThis posture takes the simple lying twist a step further. It opens and stretches out the chest and pectoral muscles, gives a great twist to the spine. It strengthens the core muscles and frees up the lower back. It also stretches out the gluteal muscles and this helps ease hip and back pain. Not only that, but this posture also aids digestion and helps trim the waist line!

 

This posture is great to help keep the spine healthy. It's especially useful when you need to connect with the earth element and ground your energy system. After travel or after a long day at work, this posture can really help you to let go of the day and settle. When you are in this posture it feels very relaxing, so you can use it if you are feeling a bit tired or lethargic and want to do ‘just a little something’ to get your yoga practice started – or indeed just before your deep relaxation as a way to unwind and prepare for stillness.

 

Contra-indications

Please take care if you have acute back pain, sciatica or a slipped disc – and please don’t do this one if you are pregnant or have had recent abdominal surgery.

 

How to do this posture?

Step 1 

Lie comfortably on your back with the knees bent up, feet flat on the floor. Bring the right knee up to the chest and extend the left leg down onto the floor. Place your right foot on the floor on the inside of the left knee and stretch the arms out to the sides at shoulder height, palms facing upward. Take a deep inhalation.

Step 2

As you exhale, keep your right shoulder anchored to the floor and take the right knee across your body and lower it towards the floor on the left side. Turn your head to the right. Relax, breathing normally.

Step 3

When you feel ready extend your right leg until it is parallel with you left arm. Then relax here as long as is comfortable. Allow gravity to help you enjoy the stretch through the hamstrings, hip and lower back.

Step 4

To come out of this posture bend the right knee and roll the right hip back onto the floor, placing the foot on the inside of your left knee again. Extend the foot out along the floor and rest for a few breaths before repeating on the other side. 

 

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