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Long and strong with Crescent Pose

crescent pose Most people know that one of the best ways to get strong legs is by doing squats and lunges.  In yoga, there are many asanas or poses that require you to stay in a squat or 90 degree angle for several breaths.  One of my favorite leg strengtheners in yoga is called crescent pose or Virabhadrasana 1.  Here is a variation you can do anywhere to create  long and strong legs. * Start with your hands on your hips and your feet together. * Step your right foot forward and bend your leg so that your knee is directly over your toes. * Anchor your back leg and bend your front leg 90 degrees. * Lift your arms up over your head, rotating your upper arms towards your ears. * Reach up and lengthen with each inhale and maintain that length as you exhale.  Creating space between your upper body and front thigh. * Draw your tailbone down and soften your upper ribs towards your frontal hip bones. * Reach through your back heel while pressing into your front heel, imagine scissoring your inner thighs together to keep your legs active. * Slowly lower your back leg, just so that your knee skims the ground, then straighten your back leg and come back up. * Continue to maintain the 90 degree bend in your front leg and keep reaching your arms up but relax your shoulders away from your ears. * It should take at least 4 seconds to lower and four seconds to raise back up.  Start with 4 reps and build up to 10 on each leg. * If you want more, add 10 small pulses on your last rep before you come back up to standing. ** The slower the movement the longer and leaner your muscle becomes. The quicker you move the more bulk you create.