Some of you might look at this pose and think, “What? King Arthur who?” While it may not be in the typical repertoire of yoga poses (I don’t think there’s even a Sanskrit name for it!), it’s excellent for stretching out the thighs and hip flexors.
The sensations that arise from this pose can feel intense, but you can imagine that you are a valiant knight who is completely present and calm in the face of adversity, and remember that conquering the battle of the mind requires, first and foremost, a strong, steady breath.
Benefits of King Arthur’s Pose
King Arthur’s Pose stretches out the psoas and hip flexors, and helps elongate the front of the quadriceps. Lengthening these muscles will help you open up through the entire lower body and enable you to move more fully into backbends.
King Arthur’s Pose Step-By-Step
- Begin in a Tabletop position (on hands and knees) facing away from a wall, with your toes tucked under and the soles of your feet against the wall.
- Take your bent left knee to the base of the wall, where the wall meets the floor, and slide your left shin vertically up the wall, with the left foot pointed so that the toes point straight up.
- Step your right foot forward so that the right leg is in a lunge, with the knee stacked directly over the ankle and bent to 90 degrees.
- Lengthen your tailbone down and find a neutral pelvis, countering the tendency for the hips to tilt forward in an effort to avoid the stretch here. Keep pressing the top of the left foot into the wall, and find a lift in your ribs.
- Either fold both hands onto the right thigh, or, to move deeper, extend both arms overhead.
- Remain in the pose anywhere from 5 to 20 breaths, depending on your level of comfort. To come out of the pose, release your hands to the floor and take your left shin off the wall. When ready, repeat on the other side.
- If you feel discomfort in the back knee due to pressure, fold up your mat or tuck a blanket or towel underneath the knee for added support.
- If the sensation feels really intense in this pose, use blocks underneath the hands or keep the fingertips on the ground as opposed to taking the hands onto the right thigh. A more accessible variation for those working toward King Arthur’s Pose is to come into a Low Lunge with the back knee down, then bend the back knee to draw the foot in toward the body, taking a hold of the back foot with the hand or with a strap.
- To move even deeper, work towards bringing the entire back body flat up against the wall and taking the left foot to the outside of the left hip (like a Virasana leg).