As we move into the Year of the Horse, I thought now would be a good time to break down some specifics about horse stance: a common pose in yoga classes, and a great way to send some love to your hips and legs.
What is it?
Horse stance is probably already familiar to you if you’ve ever done kung fu or tai chi; it’s a wide legged, bent-kneed pose that roughly mimics what you’d look like straddling a horse.
How do I do it?
Step your feet about 4 feet apart, angling them about 90 degrees from each other, and then bend your knees to track over your ankles. Tuck your pelvis so your butt’s not sticking out; then experiment with transferring weight from your heels to your toes. Eventually let your weight find balance between the two points and hold for 5-10 breaths, keeping your upper body upright.
It shouldn’t take more than a breath or two to notice that this is a great leg and glute strengthener. The longer you hold it, the moreyang (muscular) energy you’ll feel in your lower body. If you press against your thighs with your hands and straighten your arms (as pictured on right) you’ll feel a nice release in your low back as well. Horse stance is also a great hip opener in preparation for more challenging poses.