Benefits: Strengthens the quadriceps and postural muscles along the spine, while lengthening the inner thighs, hip flexors, abdominals and calves.
Moving in and out of the posture:
From mountain pose at the top of your mat take a large step back with your right foot. Your feet should be parallel to one another (think of railroad tracks) not in line with one another (as if you were walking a tightrope ). Turn the right toes about 45 degrees from the top of the mat (adjust the angle as needed to take tension off of the back knee).
Root down through the outside edge of the right foot and square your hips towards the top of the mat.
Bend the left knee as you bring your arms up from your sides and overhead. Keep your shoulders stacked over your hips. If you feel any pressure in the lower back lower your arms to shoulder height or bring your palms together at the center of your chest.
Glance down at your left knee – the kneecap should be pointing towards the 2nd or 3rd toe. If the knee is pointing inwards roll the left hip open, lengthening through the inner thigh.
You should be able to see all your toes, because your left knee is stacked directly over the left ankle. If the knee is ahead of the ankle, rise up slightly until the knee is stacked, or walk the right foot farther back on the mat, opening up your stance until the left knee also moves back.
Lift your eyes back up, looking towards the space between your hands. Continue to hold the posture, breathing deeply, for at least four breaths. On your last exhale straighten out the left leg, press forward through the right foot and come back to mountain pose. Now repeat on the left side.