Monkey Pose stretches the thighs, hamstrings and groin. It also stimulates the abdominal organs and helps with sciatica.
HOW TO DO IT: Begin by kneeling on the floor. Step about one foot forward with your left foot in front of your right knee. Rotate your left thigh out by lifting the inner sole of your foot and shifting the weight onto the outer heel. Exhale and lean forward, balancing on either side of your left leg with your fingertips. You may place a bolster under you for support. If the bolster isn’t thick enough as you begin to go down in the stretch, place a folded blanket on top of it. Listen to your body’s needs. Take your time and slowly slide your right knee back, straightening the knee as you lower your left thigh to the floor. Stop straightening your right knee before you reach the limit of your stretch. Begin to push the left heel away from your torso. Allow the center of your left knee to point toward the ceiling. Continue to go down in the stretch until the base of your pelvis rests on the floor or bolster. Check that your right leg is extended straight out of the hip and isn’t angled out to the side. Lift the ball of your left foot toward the ceiling. You may also point your toes. The idea is to keep your legs actively engaged. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Gently come out of the pose by pressing your hands to the floor, turning your left leg out slightly. Bring your left heel and right knee back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Remember to breathe.