Finding the Elusive “Roll and Lift” in Your Yoga Posture

When doing any yoga posture it’s important to aim for correct alignment to gain the benefits of the pose and perform it safely. An instruction that is often given by yoga teachers is to “lift and roll your thighs”, either inwards or outwards depending upon the pose. This has always been a confusing instruction for me and I never really got it.

This week I was reading the book, Cool Yoga Tricks by Miriam Austin. I came across a really good explanation of thigh rotation and how to really feel it.

To begin with, Miriam suggests a couple of alternative phrases she uses in order to think about and understand this direction:

  • "engage the thighs or engage the quadriceps"

  • "contract the thighs or contract the quadriceps"

Although it seems somewhat of an impossibility to roll your thighs in a specific direction (anyway it certainly did to me!), when done properly it helps to align the spine, creating a solid foundation for the pose and new sense of confidence and freedom.

Miriam’s Tips for Lifting and Rolling the Thighs Outward

I read the instructions for this technique and then decided to give it a try. I was really excited to discover a whole new triangle pose! I felt stronger and did not have the usual feeling of trepidation regarding my knee (I had surgery last year) as I lowered my torso into the pose. I’ve spent the past couple of days spontaneously rolling and lifting throughout my day!

  • Get ready for triangle by separating your feet about 4 feet apart with the right foot turned out 90° and also to turn slightly inwards about 45°.

  • Bend the right knee forward slightly.

  • As you straighten it engage your quadriceps and roll your thigh outward.

  • Next, slightly bend the back knee and as you straighten it roll the thigh outward.

  • Concentrate on maintaining this lift and rotation throughout the pose.

Trikonasa - Triangle Pose

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