Play with balance, flexibility and strength in Balancing Bear Pose…
Balancing Bear Pose (Merudandasana) – also known as Spinal Column Pose or Upward Seated Straddle Pose – is a fun and beneficial pose for kids and adults alike. This intermediate-level pose offers a great inner thigh stretch, increases flexibility in the hips and hamstrings, builds core and back strength, improves balance, and stimulates the Root and Sacral chakras. This pose is also thought to improve digestion and enhance focus, concentration, and energy flow.
If you have limited flexibility, you can perform the pose with the knees slightly bent, or do the Half Bear variation by lifting just one leg at a time. You can prepare for this pose by practicing Wide-Legged Seated Forward Fold or Seated Side Stretch.
Those with lower back, hip, or knee problems should use extra caution or skip this pose.
How to Perform Balancing Bear Pose:
1. Begin seated on your mat in in Butterfly Pose.
2. Grasp your big toes with your index and middle fingers.
3. Shift your weight back onto your sit bones keeping your spine straight as you straighten each leg into the air to form a wide “V” shape.
4. Maintain a straight spine as you hold the pose for 6 to 8 breaths. Imagine your hips as a heavy weight anchoring you to the ground.
5. To come out of the pose, bend each leg one at a time and return to Butterfly pose. You may wish to follow this pose with a gentle forward stretch such as Child’s Pose to relax and release the back muscles.