Eka Pada Jathara Parivarttanasana
(Star Hamstring Stretch)
eka pada = one legged
jathara = of the stomach
parivarttan = reversed
This yoga posture promotes proper spinal alignment, from the shoulders to the hips inducing greater range of motion and therapeutic affects. Therapy to the hips as stress relief and alleviating sciatica, this pose is also known as a runners stretch, complimenting Pilates practice.
Stretches legs, specifically the hamstrings and glutes.
Opens the Groin and Psoas
Increases Lung Capacity
Lower Back Flexibility
Performing the Asana
Lie supine on your mat, breathing deeply. Exhale and tuck the right knee into the chest while curling your neck upwards to meet the knee. Inhale and hold, feeling the extension from the tailbone upwards to the crown of the head.
Exhale, relax the torso and return to the mat while flexing the right toes and pressing the lower back into the mat. Inhale and place the right palm to the outside of the right knee. Finishing your breath, press your shoulders back and gently bring the knee over the body to the left portion of the mat and extend the leg as straight as is comfortable. Clasp the ankle or calf muscle.
Press the right palm out in a straight line perpendicular to the line of the body and gaze to the fingertips, releasing the neck and lending a twist to the entire length of the spine. Rest here for several breaths, feeling the energy extend from the fingertips, feet, and head. The lower back remains on the mat. Alternate between pointed feet and flexed feet.
To release, inhale, and bend the knee again. Ehxaling, return the sacrum and pelvis flat to the mat. Bring both knees to the chest for a breath, then extend back into the beginning position. Repeat on the opposite side.
Modify Your Practice
You may practice the entire sequence keeping your knees bent to focus on the hips and lower back or if you suffer from tight hamstrings. In the first part, bring both knees to the chest and swivel from the hips, bringing both knees to the sides of the body.
You may also keep the knee bent slightly for a beginning stretch in the extension for a simple stretch, light on the joints such as the hips and knees if you have tightness or ligament problems. With time, you will be able to extend fully.
Deepen the Pose
There are 5 major directions of force. Through both arms sideways, through the top of the head, through the leg that is down and through the extended leg sideways. The body will eventually find perfection if you allow the forces to gently move in all these directions.