Prayer Squat

namaskarasana

Level: Beginner

Instructions

1. From Table position, tuck the toes under and walk the hands in towards the feet, keeping the knees bent and bringing the hips pressed down towards the heels in a squatting position.

2. Walk the feet a little further apart until the torso is not resting against the thighs. The feet can either be flat to the floor or the toes can remain tucked under.

3. Slowly bring the palms together in front of the heart with the elbows pressing against the knees. Use the arms to press the knees apart, deepening the stretch in the hips. Stare at one point on the floor for balance.

4. Sink the hips down towards the floor and reach up through the crown of the head to lengthen the spine. Roll the shoulders down and back and press the chest towards the thumbs.

5. If possible, close the eyes and look up at the third eye, the point between the eyebrows.

6. Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths.

7. To release: A) bring the palms to the floor and straighten the legs, pressing the hips up towards the ceiling into a forward fold. B) inhale and press into the feet, slowly straightening the legs lifting up to standing. C) bring the palms to the floor, walk them forward and lower the knees to the floor coming back into Table pose.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Prayer squat opens the hips and improves balance, memory and concentration.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the knees or hips.

Modifications + Variations

Modifications: A) Place one hand on the floor between the toes if you cannot balance with both hands up. B) Place a folded blanket under your heels if they do not touch the floor.

Vinyasa

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Table, Crab, Mountain, Goddess Squat.

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Forward Fold, Down Dog, Crane, Side Crane.

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