UTTHITA HASTA PADANGUSTHASANA B
In my previous blog, we looked at how Matt prepares you for Standing Nose to Shin (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A). Although there are multiple similarities in regard to preparation between that posture and today’s (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana B), there are obviously other points of consideration due to both the change in positioning of the top leg and the differences in the shape of the torso. What you can rely on is how Matt develops a clear narrative for you to follow. The buildup to a posture is like reading a book with first-rate plot development. The variations offered in today’s video include all of the vital elements (rising action/muscular preparation, climax/execution of the posture, falling action/the lessons learned and deeper understanding of your body, and resolution/reflection and awareness of how to approach the posture with physical and mental intelligence.
- Improve flexibility of hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, and glutes
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START WITH STRENGTH
To approach Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana B with intelligence, you have to start with strength. Accepting this methodology means that increased range of motion is within your grasp. If you’ve practiced with Matt before, then you understand that the development of improved range of motion includes both strength and flexibility. Part of the rising action in today’s narrative is the cultivating of outer hip strength for both stability in the standing leg and active mobility in the top leg. To this end, Matt demonstrates a drill where you’re in a Tabletop position while repeatedly lifting/abducting one leg. In this drill, paying attention to the articulation of your pelvis (anterior tilt) and the positioning of the knee of the lifted leg (going directly out to the side and not trailing behind) is the difference between actually targeting the outer hip muscles effectively and just mindlessly going through the motions.
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UTTHITA HASTA PADANGUSTHASANA B: INCREASE YOUR RANGE OF MOTION
STANDING KNEE BEND
Once strength has been addressed as part of the foundation for this posture, moving towards the exploration of increased range of motion in your hips becomes possible. Here, Matt offers variations of Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana B that begin to lead you towards the climax (the potential of the pose that exists within your body).
Matt reveals that in a standing position, beyond the requirement of hip flexion and hamstring flexibility in the standing leg, you can actually increase your range of motion first by squeezing in the hip of the standing leg while creating a lateral tilt in your pelvis. This lateral tilt automatically sends the top leg higher. Immediately, you reduce the amount of constriction of hip flexion from the top leg. Maintaining a bent knee in the top leg also allows you to explore the pose with less demand on the hamstrings and adductors.
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HALF MOON POSE LEG LIFTS
In the previous step, you also begin to foster a development of lateral flexion of the spine along with strength in the obliques and quadratus lumborum (QL) to support the lateral tilt of the pelvis when you’re upright in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana B. In today’s video, Matt nurtures this with his “Half Moon Pose leg lifts” drill. Although this drill continues to develop strength in the outer hips, it also generates strength in the obliques and QL because you are lifting (abducting) the top leg beyond a neutral position. Additionally, just because the standing leg is static doesn’t mean that it’s inactive. You can still intentionally create abduction of the bottom leg. Together, these actions translate directly into a sense of stability in the torso, which comes from strong oblique and QL muscles.
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