Loose legs and lavish lakes

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So we’re still in Burma, a little further east in Inle Lake to be more precise, one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever seen. Not only does the lake provide homes for thousands of Burmese residents in the form of delicately crafted bamboo huts on stilts, it also supplies the means to grow food on these spectacular things called floating gardens. Then what I found the most fascinating, fishermen who row with their legs! Only found in this region of Inle lake the local fishermen balance on one leg at the edge of their small boats, twisting the oar around the other leg, this way having both hands free to cast out and draw in the nets. Watching the graceful movements, which must require so much strength, balance and flexibility, inspired me that eveing to focus my practice around my legs!

“Splits” or hanumanasana requires a significant amount of flexibility from both the hamstrings and the groin. Always make sure you warm your body up before practicing this asana, reputations of sun salutions as well as lizard pose is great for this.

A lot of teachers practise coming into hanumanasana from standing, usually using blocs or something similar to assist you coming closer to the ground. This will work for most of you I’m sure however when I’m working this asana I like to start from sitting. You need to have fairly flexible legs to work this asana, so if you’re unsure, go back to lizard pose.

Start sitting with your legs as open as feels comfortable on your mat or a soft floor, legthen your spine (I like to imagine invisible string pulling me up from the crown of my head). If you’re opening the left leg, turn the body so it’s looking over the left leg. Take the left hand behind your left thigh, pressing down firmly on the floor, until your sitting bones start to come off the ground. With the right hand imagine someone is pulling you over until it reaches the ground infront. You may find that either your legs start to bend, you can’t get up at all, or that you have more flexibility than you think and are comfortable sitting with straight legs. Keep both hands firmly grounded either side of you to offer support. Whichever one of these may apply to you try to hold for at least five breaths. Always repeat on the opposite side, keeping your body nice and balanced.

Once you’re comfortable in this asana you can try raising your hands off the ground. It will make the posture slightly more powerful, but gives you the option of putting some interesting variations to hanumanasana.

It feels a little strange having only practised on my own for a while now – would be great to hear how everyone’s practice is going at home!? Also, are there any postures you’ve seen and are unsure about? Will do my best to offer some guidance, but keep in mind I’m still a student myself! Love gemyoga x

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