Strike a Pose
THE POSE: King Dancer
THE POSE: Handstand
THE POSE: Crow
THE POSE: Side Plank B
THE POSE: Handstand
Image: Munetaka Tokuyama / MCKIBILLO (illus.)
This pose strengthens your shoulders, arms, core, and legs. As you work toward it, keep three things in mind: Rotate your triceps toward your body, keep your neck relaxed, and gaze just slightly past your fingertips.
PHASE 1 Stand with your back and heels against a wall. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor a few feet in front of you, raising your hips and straightening your legs to come into downward-facing dog (an inverted V). Place your right foot flat on the wall so your leg is straight and your thigh is parallel to the floor. Brace your core, then slowly place your left foot next to your right. With both legs straight, shift your weight so that your shoulders are directly over your wrists (you'll be in an L shape). Hold, then bend your knees and slowly lower one foot to the floor at a time.
PHASE 2 Repeat phase 1, then lift your right leg off the wall, lifting your heel toward the ceiling while keeping your hips and toes square to the wall. Your left leg is still parallel to the floor, with your foot flat on the wall. Hold, keeping your core tight, arms straight, and neck relaxed, then slowly bring your right foot back to the wall and switch legs. To release, bring both feet back to the wall, bend your knees, and slowly lower one foot at a time.
PHASE 3 Face the wall and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor about 10 inches away from it. Get into downward-facing dog, then walk your feet in a few inches, stacking your shoulders over your wrists. Brace your core and slowly raise your left heel toward the ceiling, leg straight. Keep your hips square, arms straight, and neck relaxed. Hold, gazing toward your fingertips, then lower your leg and switch sides.
Start in downward-facing dog with your hands shoulder-width apart and legs straight. Walk your feet forward, shifting your weight onto your hands and stacking your shoulders over your wrists. With your arms straight and core tight, lift your right leg toward the ceiling, keeping your hips square. Bend your left knee and gently hop to raise your left leg toward the ceiling, bringing your hips over your shoulders. Hold, then slowly come down one leg at a time.