Shiko Dachi, also known as Sumo Stance is one of the basic stances in Martial Arts. It is a low stance with both knees are bent, upper thighs are 30 to 15 degrees to your shins, knees are directly over your ankles and feet are 90 degrees angle from each other, back is straight. But now how is this most painful and difficult pose related to emotional relief. It still stresses me out to remember Sensei encouraging "sink - sink" while I thought I was about to pass-out. It made me feel frustrated, angry, sad... all kinds of mixed emotions... Allow me to explain; hips are located at the base of the spine where our root chakra is located. All our fears, anger, frustration, worries, financial problems, boundary problems get stored at this area. So when we practice certain poses in yoga such as hip-openers, these trapped feelings and emotions may come out. They may show up as tears coming out of nowhere. If this happens, it's ok; in fact, it's great. Allow them to be, be present, be grateful, keep breathing and don't abandon your posture. You can give yourself a tap on the shoulder after. Now lets look at the prerequisites for a proper Shiko dachi;
  1. Strong quads carry your weight down,
  2. Strong gluts and adductors so you can straighten your back, this takes the pressure off your knees.
  3. Inner leg flexibility and open hips for lower and wider stance.
Over the next few weeks I will be sharing 5 yoga poses that will improve your shiko dachi. IMPORTANT NOTE: Please make sure your body is warmed up before getting into stretches. Move slowly and mindfully at all times. Feeling tight muscle pain is normal but having sharp pain is NOT! Always listen to your body.    
Start by feet two shoulders width apart hands on your waist, draw the navel in, lengthen your spine and start leaning forward from the waist keeping. Avoid rounding your back. Relax the arms towards the mat and the neck. Let the gravity pull you down for few breaths.   Bring the hands on the mat or grab your ankles and start gently pulling yourself down while pushing the outer edges of your feet towards the mat. Keep your quad and knees active and upper body relaxed. Hold! You can start moving side to side and bringing your chest to knee. Avoid twisting the hips. Hold each side for few breath   GODDESS POSE (UTKATA KONASANA) : Standing with your feet wide apart, turn feet out 45 degrees, exhale and bend your knees bringing them directly over ankles. Your thighs should be almost parallel to the floor. Inhale and extend both arms up; exhale, bend your elbows and bring them to shoulder hight. Press your shoulder blades together and down at your back. Imagine holding a big beach ball in your hands. If you find yourself leaning forward to keep your balance, start by hands on the knees. Pushing the knees out, start engaging your gluts and adductors to pull the tailbone under. Keep your back straight and shoulders away from your ears. You can also try this with your back against a wall. If you find your knees collapsing in, then keep your elbows on your knees and push your knees out with your elbows. Hold for 30 sec up to a 2 min. to be continued… Namaste! by Kohai Savas