Krounchasana is also known as the Heron Pose. Like the bird it’s named after, this pose is meant to be very graceful and filled with light. It’s part of the Ashtanga Intermediate Series.
Krounchasana loosens up the hamstrings and detoxifies the digestive system. It also helps in freeing up your hip joints.
Doing Heron Pose will strengthen and tone your body, elongating it along the centerline.
It’s not advised for anyone with knee or hamstring injuries. You are going to do a deep flexion of the knee and extension of the leg. If you cannot close your knee joint completely it is not advised that you work on this pose.
Because it involves knee flexion and a deep forward bend make sure your hamstrings and knees are warmed up before you get started. You can warm up by doing a few sun salutations first.
Sit your mat with your leg straight out in front of you. Bend your right leg so your toes are pointing behind you and your heel is next to your hip. Your knee is folded beneath you.
Activate your pelvic bowl by drawing the muscles in and up. Point your left foot. For the easiest entry into the posture, lean back and lift your left foot. With your leg bent hold on to the foot with both hands. Then straighten the leg straight up in front of you.
If you cannot straighten your leg and straighten your arms this pose is too advanced for you right now. You need to work on your flexibility.
The most common mistake people make in this pose is that they try to bring their head towards the knee. Actually, both your torso and your thigh need to move in toward each other.
Elongate your spine by lengthening your back muscles. Drop your elbows down and let your sternum elevate as you reach your chin toward your shin. If you can, reach up and hold your right wrist with your left hand over the sole of your pointed foot.
For the second way to enter the pose. Again you’re sitting with one leg bent. Let the head of the femur of the opposite leg pivot into the socket and lift your leg without the assistance of your hands. Once your leg is lifted reach up and hold the sole of your foot with your hands. Then move your chest and your leg toward each other. Drop your shoulders down. Drop your elbows down. Move your chin toward your shin.
The key to this posture is to simultaneously drop into the belly while the back muscles lift up and out of the pelvic bowl. At the same time the head of the femur is dropping down into its socket. This creates an equal and opposite action giving you a feeling of flattening your body along the centerline.
The internal rotation of the hips in this posture opens the sacrum in the lower back to prepare you for back bending poses that come later in the Intermediate Series.
As you practice Krounchasana remember to be kind to yourself and always practice with patience. Watch the video from Kino to find out more about the pose.