My oh my! Where does the time go? I didn't realize so many days had passed since my last post. But, things should go smoother now - I purchased a new computer last week and now that it is mostly set up (talk about a practice in patience!) I should be back to regular weekly postings.
First, I thought this article on YogaJournal.com was very interesting: Square Your Warrior
So this week I thought we would look at Parivrtta Parsvakonasana or Extended Side Angle pose. This is a challanging pose for a lot of people. You are stretching through the hips, the legs, while twisting though the spine and shoulders. Oy! Lots going on!
As practiced in the Ashtanga sequence, we move into Parivrtta Parsvakonasana right after completing our fifth breath of Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle). Also, please recall that I prefer to teach what I call "contemporary Ashtanga" and the breath will differenciate slightly from a "traditional Ashtanga" sequence.
From the left side, we INHALE to come up to warrior II to re-establish our foundation and EXHALE turn the torso to face front in a modified warrior I posture (hands at namaste). INHALE to lengthen the spine and EXHALE bring the elbow to the knee. Hold for FIVE breaths.
A couple of tips:
> The elbows should be pointing toward the floor and the ceiling.
> Palms are pressing together and you are trying to rotate the torso to bring the sturnum in line with the hands.
> The lower elbow should be moving toward the OUTSIDE of the knee. Often the tendency is to rest the elbow ON the knee. By moving the elbow to the outside of the knee, we can gently press knee against elbow and vice versa to help deepen the twist.
> Back foot is pressing into the mat - feel the floor from your pinky toe all the way down to your heel.
> If this is too extreme on the ankles, knees or hips, lift the back heel off the floor and come into a high lunge.
> As with Virabhadrasana II and Utthita Parsvakonasana, hips are moving earthward.
> Gaze can be up or straight ahead.
After five breaths, EXHALE to look down at the floor, INHALE strongly lift yourself up, EXHALE to the opposite side and find your foundation. Don't rush through this. INHALE to lengthen spine and EXHALE, elbow to knee. Hold for five breaths.
To exit, EXHALE look down at the floor, INHALE come to center of mat (arms at waist or wide), EXHALE pause, INHALE to Samasthti.
Did I mention there was a lot going on?
Again, this is a very intense stretch and twist. The tendency is to collapse through the shoulders because we are tight in the lower back, the hips, and the shoulders. But we want to keep lifting and opening. There is so much we could discuss about this pose, but I think that's enough for now.
I couldn't find a picture of the modification, but here is a picture of the full expression of the pose. This is what we are working towards:
Picture from yogajournal.com