Twists, twists, and more twists!
It's another twist this week. My practice has been full of them lately, I must be in need of a good cleanse. Been feeling a little thick around the middle the past couple of weeks, probably eating too much protein (read: peanut butter, tons of it). I'll have to cut down on that, but in the meantime, twists are helping me along.
Parivrtta Hasta Padugusthasana (Revolved Hand-to-Foot Pose) is a standing balance with a strong twist. In this pose, the notoriously tight IT band receives a deep stretch, and the glutes and hamstrings are lengthened. The core and standing leg are worked strongly to keep the body stable, while the twist improves mobility in the spine and massages the abdominal organs, contributing to healthy digestion.
Use your bandhas to remain grounded and steady. Point the tailbone down. Keep a micro-bend in the knee of the standing leg and draw up through the arch of the foot. Lift the chest and lengthen the spine in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand-to-Foot Pose) before switching the hands to initiate the twist. Stabilize the hips as you revolve from the waist to turn your gaze back over your shoulder.
Driste, the gaze point, is especially important in balancing postures. Choose a gazing point that is comfortable for your neck and stick with it. Fix your eyes on a spot that is not moving to keep your mind focused on the task at hand, eventually bringing the gaze all the way around to the thumb of the extended hand as you deepen the twist. Breathe deeply.
Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana Sequence
1. Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A (Extended Hand-to-Foot Pose) - Stand on your right leg. Bend your left knee and grab your big toe with the first two fingers and thumb of your left hand (yogi toe lock), bring your right and to your hip. Extend your left leg straight out in front of you, OR if the hamstrings are tight, bend the left knee and hold the knee.
2. Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana B - Inhale your left foot out the side and turn the gaze over your right shoulder.
3. Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana (Revolved Hand-to-Foot Pose) - Inhale your left foot back to center, grab the outer edge of the foot with the right hand, bring your left hand to your hip, and exhale as you twist to gaze back over your left shoulder. If you feel steady, extend the left hand.
4. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) - On an exhale, release your hold on the left foot and remain in Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana with the leg floating for one inhalation. Exhale with control as you unwind the body and float your right hand to the mat 6-10 inches in front of the right foot. Reach your left hand to the sky and gaze to the left thumb.
5. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) - Exhale as you bend the right knee and float the left foot down to the mat. Reach the right arm forward and the left arm back in Warrior II.
6. Vinyasa to standing.
7. Repeat 1-6, standing on the left leg.