After a long winter, we are all in need of a spring cleanse. Twisted postures in yoga not only increase mobility in the spine, but also help to cleanse the organs and promote good circulation. When twisted, the organs are compressed and squeeze out stale blood which is then replaced with newly oxygenated blood once the twist is released. Twists can relive back pain by stretching and strengthening the spine and most importantly, they help to relieve anxiety and stress because they require lengthening, deepening and regulating the breath.
April's pose of the month is Parsva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose) which is a twisted arm balance.
1) Beginning in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), make sure your toes and heels are together, bend your knees and come into a half squat position.
2) With your hands together in prayer position at your heart's center, take a big inhale to lengthen the space between your vertebrae and exhale to twist deeply to your right side pressing your left arm against your outer right thigh.
3) Continue to breathe, bend your knees a little deeper and place your hands on the floor. Hands should be shoulder distance apart, but make sure your left hand is on the right side of your right foot and your left arm and right thigh remain in contact.
4) Pressing your hands into the floor, begin to shift the weight of your pelvis toward the right lifting the abdomen toward the space between your hands.
5) Squeeze your toes and heels together and begin to lift them toward the sitting bones. Keep your neck long (no wrinkles in the back of the neck!) and stay broad across your collar bones.
6) To go a little deeper, keep twisting and begin to straighten your arms slowly as much as you can!
7) Repeat on left side.
Remember, you can ALWAYS use blocks. In this pose, a block on its lowest height can be really helpful underneath each hand. Blocks will allow you to find more space to lengthen and twist.
Poses to consider practicing FIRST in preparation for Parsva Bakasana:
- Marichyasana III
- Utkatasana with Anjali Mudra Twist (Twisted Chair Pose)
- Prasarita Padottanasana with a Twist
- Crescent Lunge with a Twist
KEEP PRACTICING and see you on the mat soon!
written by: Teresa Harris