Here’s my latest article for the Stanly News and Press:
Vajrasana, or Rock pose, seems like a very simple and basic posture, but it can be very difficult for some people. When we are kids, sitting this way is very natural and done with no pain at all, but as we get older and our knees and ankles become stiffer, Rock can present a problem. The good news is that there are ways to modify this pose and the more you practice it, the looser your joints will get.
Not only can Rock loosen the knee and ankle joints, it is also believed to help with digestion. They say that it is called Rock because if you practice it enough, you will be able to digest rocks. Try finding this pose after you eat if you ever have problems with digestion or stomach pain.
The basic way to get in the pose is to place the tops of the feet and knees together on the floor as you sit the hips right above the heels. Many people tend to sickle the feet in with the heels pointing outward, but try to line the heels directly under the sits bones, elongating the instep so the feet create a long straight line from the calves and ankles. You can place the hands palms up or down on the thighs, place the hands at heart center, take Eagle arms by crossing the arms above the elbows and binding the palms together or take Gomukhasana arms by taking one arm over and one arm under while binding the hands behind the back.
If the basic variation of Vajrasana hurts your joints in any way, then take a folded blanket or a block between your hips and your heels to open up the angle of the bend in the knees. If you cannot find a comfortable place, then do not practice it. Identify whether you are feeling pain or sensation and honor your body by avoiding pain.
Some use this pose for Pranayama, or breath work, and Meditation. Begin by only holding it for five to seven breaths until it becomes a comfortable place for your body. If the feet begin to tingle with numbness, come out of the pose. Breathe slowly and evenly in and out through your nose, staying aware of your thoughts and calm in your mind.