Thigh Opening & Urdhva Dhanurasana | iHanuman


Love, Service, Devotion, Yoga

Thigh Opening & Urdhva Dhanurasana

Welcome to the iHanuman Digital Download Store! Enjoy Incredible Classes, Workshops, Lectures and Training Videos to assist your Daily Practice. We Contribute AT LEAST 5% of EVERY Sale to Charitable Organizations. Learn More...


This practice opens the thighs in preparation for Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).

by: Beth Cholette
This 100-minute audio is an appropriate follow-up to instructor Matt Harris’s “Thigh Opening” class (also available on iHanuman). In this session, however, Harris does not focus exclusively on the thighs; rather, he incorporates postures which open up both the thighs and the shoulders as a means of working towards the pinnacle posture, urdhva dhanurasana (upward bow or wheel). Prior to the start of the class, Harris instructs his students to have a yoga strap and several blocks handy. (Those practicing at home will also need access to a wall.)Harris begins by leading the group through an opening flow of postures. Moving from standing to forward bend and back again, he emphasizes coming up with a straight back, asking his students to repeat this move until they get it right. This sequence also includes chair pose with eagle arms, high lunge, down dog (pedaling the feet to increase the stretch), and backbends/tucks from a hands and knees position. With intensity, Harris has the class practice lowering to the floor while keeping the buttocks raised; keeping the group in a prone position, he quickly moves them through several locust and cobra variations.At this point, Harris draws his students into several standing postures. Although he focuses on just a few poses here, such as warrior 1 (commanding the participants to lift their chests higher, higher!), and triangle, he spends quite a bit of time with the setup of these postures, compelling the class to concentrate on alignment issues. Harris also starts some more focused work on the thighs with one-legged frog and bow pose. Following this, Harris shifts focus to opening the shoulders in both a seated position (using the strap) and squatted (noose pose). The first hour of the practice concludes with some additional work in downward dog, including down dog #2 (a.k.a. dolphin pose) with the strap and half-dog.As the class comes back to standing, Harris pauses briefly to check in before directing everyone to move to a wall. Here he offers instructions for half-headstand, a modification for those unable to move into full headstand (at the wall). This is followed by a version of one-legged king pigeon prep pose at the wall, and then Harris begins leading the students through a long sequence of wheel pose. The first versions of this posture are practiced with the blocks, starting with the blocks in a low position and moving to using the block in a high position; next, Harris has the students elevate their feet instead. Several repetitions of full wheel pose follow before Harris allows the class to rest (very briefly!) in legs-up-the wall. To stretch out the body after the backbends, Harris concludes with some twisting postures performed back on the mat, including seated wide-legged twist and revolved head-to-knee pose. With 6 minutes left, Harris brings the group into reclined bound angle, encouraging his students to soften; halfway through the relaxation, he suggests that the students move into savasana, finishing the practice in silence.This is a demanding yoga practice requiring quite a bit of strength and stamina. Throughout this class, Harris seems to be constantly pushing and demanding much from his students; in fact, at one point he states “If you want to be lazy, then you’re in the wrong class.” This session might be well-suited to intermediate students wanting to refine their work in upward pose, but those looking for more gentle encouragement for their backbending practice won’t find it here.
Thigh Opening & Urdhva Dhanurasana
Album Runtime: 
100 minutes
Album style: 
Practice Type: 
Practice Level: 
Album Genre: 

Receive a Heartfelt, Inspired Newsletter with Special Features, Seasonal Updates, and Coupon Codes for Use with Our Yoga Downloads.