A lot of you are Peloton people (or some other spin cycle) so today I wanted to offer you a “yogic’ twist on the typical quad stretch that is suggested after a ride.
Natarajasana, or Dancer Pose, is a balancing pose that teaches concentration. This version of the pose opens your front body, shoulders, and hip of the bent leg. It also strengthens leg and ankle muscles of the standing leg while improving your sense of balance and flexibility.
Do this directly after cycling, a run, or your evening walk. You don’t even need a mat for this pose.In the first picture, you see the typical quad stretch after a cycling class. The arm holding the foot is internally rotated which is what our arms typically do in dentistry all day. So I recommend externally rotating your arm for this pose to give your shoulder a nice stretch too.
Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)
- With one hand on your bike for initial stabilization, bend your knee and reach back to grab the inside of your foot.
- Align your bent knee with your standing leg as best as you can.
- Lift the hand that’s touching the bike up towards the sky while focusing on a steady object in front of you to cultivate your sense of balance.
- Engage the quad of the standing leg and stabilize your lower core.
If this is challenging enough, take a few breaths here, then lower your top arm, gently release your leg, and do the other side.
If you want to go further:
- Press your foot into your hand, engaging your leg muscles and using this power to lift the knee up behind you while stretching through the hip flexors.
- Continue to press the foot into the hand as you lengthen your spine, slowly tipping forward, reach your lifted foot up behind you as your overhead arm reaches forward.
- Take a few breaths here, then return to the upright position, lower your top arm and release your leg.
- Repeat on the other side.
This posture cultivates feelings of strength and power as you stand strong and balanced. Embrace any wobbling in the standing foot and ankle. Your muscles are learning to balance and support you which will, over time, lead to a stronger leg and foot.