Standing in Tadasana facing the side of the mat, jump the feet out about 3-4 feet. The distance between the feet will vary but roughly they should be far enough apart so that as you extend the arms out to the sides (shoulder height with the palms facing down), the feet are roughly under the hands. Turn the right foot out exactly 90 degrees and turn the left foot in slightly (the angle of the foot should match the angle of the knee, so it will vary depending upon how open your inner hips and thighs are). Make sure that the line of the right foot from middle toe through the heel just barely grazes or even slightly misses the left heel. Bend the right leg until the shin is at a 90 degree angle to the floor. Eventually, the thigh might reach parallel, but this is something to be worked toward as you gain strength, not a requirement of the pose. Ground through the left outer heel and firm the left leg to stabilize the knee joint.
The shoulders should stay directly over the hips. Notice if you are leaning over the front thigh and if so, drop the back hip and bring the upper body back. Tuck the tailbone as you rotate the thighs away from each other to open the groins (the adductors here) and bring length to the low back. Note that for all but the most open students, with the front thigh tracking directly over the toes, the hips will generally be rotated slightly forward. This means that for the chest to stay open to the side of the mat, the torso must rotate back to the same degree the hips rotate forward. With the chest open, reach out through the fingertips but keep the shoulders relaxed with the shoulder blades wide. Bring the gaze out over the right fingers.
To come up, press through the feet to straighten the front leg. Switch the rotation of the feet, staying as long on the second side as you did on the first.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!