Benefits: Strengthens the legs, stretches the groins, hamstrings, and hips, opens the chest and shoulders. Can help relieve back pain.
1. From Warrior II, straighten your front leg (the right leg in this case).
2. Reach the right arm towards the front of the room, engaging your right thigh as you go.
3. Drop your right hand down onto your shin or ankle. If you are more open, bring your right hand to the floor on the inside or outside the right foot. Do whichever one feels most comfortable.
4. The left shoulder stacks on top of the right one as you open your chest, reaching the left fingertips towards the ceiling while keeping your left shoulder rooted in its socket.
5. Take your gaze up toward your left fingertips.
6. Draw the right thigh muscles upwards, deepening the the crease in your right hip.
7. Microbend your right knee.
8. Repeat with your left leg forward.
Beginners: Bring your right hand higher up on your leg or place a block on the floor to under your hand. It is more important to keep your right leg straight than to bring your right hand to the floor. Do not rest your hand directly on your knee, though, as this creates too much pressure on the knee.
Advanced: Line up the right heel with the arch of the left foot. For a variation, try dropping the left arm over the left ear so it comes parallel to the floor, while keeping the shoulder rooting into the socket. Take the weight out of your right hand, hovering it above the floor.