Square pose can be very frustrating for you or students if you have tight hips or struggle with external rotation. Square offers an intense stretch so offering variations and lots of props is key to making this pose accessible to all.
Get into Square Step-by-Step
- Begin sitting in a cross-legged position.
- Edge your feet slightly away from you.
- Draw your right leg over the top of your left. Aim to have both shins parallel with the front edge of your mat. Use your hands gently to do this if you need to.
- Come to stack your shins over top of each other as you wiggle your ankles to stack over the opposite knees. Your legs should come to form a square shape. Keep your feet flexed and the edges of your feet just past your knees.
- Place your hands on your shins.
- Option to fold forward over your shins and round your spine.
- Physical: A big external rotation of the hips that creates an opening into your hip joints. It’s a great pose for hip mobility.
- Energetic: The Gallbladder meridian is stimulated. When folded forward the Urinary Bladder meridian is also stimulated.
- Emotional & Mental: Square works deeply into the sacral chakra. Emotions may arise here such as irritation. Practice patience and stillness to overcome any waves of emotion by focusing on the breath.
- Be mindful that the sensation is felt in the hips more than the knees or quads. If this is the case, try single-legged square instead.
- For back injuries or pain, avoid folding forward. Instead, sit tall by reaching the crown of the head to the sky and stack your shoulders over your hips.
- Do not fold forward if you are pregnant.
- Sciatica may be irritated. Trying sitting on a block or bolster to elevate the hips higher than your knees. Avoid rounding your spine forward and instead tilt the hips forward.
- Single-Legged Square: Begin with both legs extended long in front of you. Bend your right knee and place your flexed foot on the outside of your left thigh. Your foot should land above your knee so that your right shin is parallel to the top of the mat. Sit with a tall spine or round forward.
- Supported Square: Option to sit up on a bolster or folded blanket. If there is space between your knees and feet, place blocks to fill the space by resting your knees on the blocks.
- Meditation Pose: Sit in a cross-legged position. This may be enough external rotation for the hips already.
Get Out of the Pose
- Release from the forward fold. Stack your shoulders over your hips. Your chin comes up last.
- Place your hands behind you and lean back.
- Uncross your legs and stretch them long in front of you.
- Windshield wipers.
How Long to Hold Square?
- 3-5 minutes per side.
- I recommend folding forward (if you choose to do so) after sitting tall for the first minute.