February 5, 2015

Visual Yoga Blog: 3 Steps to Longer Hamstrings & Spine with Balancing Scissor.


Balance: We do it with the feet—

—though, if you’re acrobatically inclined, you also do it with your hands. And, it turns out, yogic balancing can also be done on one’s knees. Enter now: your butt.

Specifically, through the Balancing Scissor pose.


1. Sit down and cross your right knee over your left knee, as pictured. (Or if you can’t quite align one knee over the other, try your right shin in front of your left shin.) Lean back slightly onto your hands. Take five slow breaths, letting your spine lengthen.


2. Lean forward and slide your hands underneath the edges of your feet.


3. Lean back while extending out your legs. Hang on to the edges of your feet. Keep your ankles crossed: this is where the Balancing Scissor differs from other more conventional asanas. Do not lie back on your lumbar spine; instead, balance over the triangle that your sitting bones and tailbone create.

Be sure to extend out your legs fully and straighten your back all the way by lifting your chest. If you can’t quite hold the edges of the feet in the full extended position, let the hands slip to your calves and hold the calves instead. Stay for five slow breaths, then repeat the entire sequence on the other side.

Benefits: Hip joint release, back-resetting and bragging rights for the ability to balance with something other than your hands and feet (always a good topic of conversation with your co-workers).

Avoid if: If your coccyx (tail bone) or lumbar spine hurts, or if you’re truly unable to find the balance point over sitting bones and tailbone even when your hands aren’t on the edges of your feet, then there’s no point in forcing this position. Try either holding your feet directly without crossing the ankles, or holding a strap that you place around the soles of your feet. In any of these cases, if your coccyx or lumbar spine are uncomfortable, avoid this pose entirely in favor of other poses.

Final thoughts: No matter how proficient you become in this position, here’s a gentle reminder that office equipment was never intended for yoga demonstrations. So do not, I repeat, do not ask your office mates, “Hey, can you balance on your butt?” and then proceed to demonstrate this pose using your office chair. Especially if it’s a chair that rolls around.


Author: Ricard das Neves

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photos: Author’s Own

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