Twistin' the night away…. 3 rules for Revolved Poses

 

Seated Skeleton

Image by creepyhalloweenimages via Flickr

 

Revolved Poses are my favorite core strengthening poses because they build flexibility at the same time as strength, and because they work the entire core, not just “the yabs.”  Keep yourself healthy for many more twists to come by following these three rules:

  1. Stabilize your pelvis by drawing your hips toward one another: I know, my class today collectively got their Scooby faces on for this one. They’ve grown used to me giving the instruction to press their sitting bones or upper legs apart, but drawing together? Eyebrows go up,  spines come out of poses, lips purse. No problem: same muscles as pressing the legs apart, but draw together. Draw pelvic floor up…. yes, this is the beginning of Mula Bhanda.
  2. Inhale, lengthen the spine by lifting the ribcage up equally from the pelvis,
  3. Exhale, begin to turn from deep in the belly. Drawing your core muscles closer to center, draw one side back and draw the other closer to mid-line. (Find your mid-line by drawing all your muscles close to center on each of 7 successive outbreaths.) After you’ve turned in your belly, begin to use internal – not external, like pressing away –  shoulder strength to turn through the thoracic spine, and only then turn your head.

Revolved poses are regenerative alone, and can be used to counter-pose both back and forward bends. Great for digestion and releasing low back and hips, they make for a great night’s sleep. Move slowly and with deep respect for your whole body and your intuition, and you’ll be twistin’ the night away.

Twists

Twists – or revolved poses – in yoga are challenging on many levels. Requiring and understanding of the basic pose, they entice us to explore balance, integrate poles of consciousness or halves of the brain, wring out the viscera and cleanse the body. Perfect for Spring!

Twists will be included in all our upcoming classes (YogaNow, and coming soon! Ripple Effect… stay tuned 🙂

Try this sequence at home. It starts with a front facing pose – meaning your hips are parallel to the short edge of your mat. I find – after first departing from this dictum of my teacher’s finding my way back to it through my own experience – that grouping poses that emphasize internal rotation in both legs at once (like front facing poses)  and those that require dynamic inner & outer spiraling of the legs (like side facing poses, facing the long edge of the mat) helps to stabilize the sacrum.

With this in mind, start with Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I), then after at least five breaths, bring the arm that’s on the same side as the bent knee to waist, elongate the side bodies and twist the still raised opposite arm and side body until that side of the belly is against the inside of the opposite thigh, and fold the hands in prayer position – Revolved Side Angle Pose, or Parivrtta Parsvokonasana.

After at least five more breaths, extend the arms up and down and straighten the forward leg for Revolved Triangle, or Parivrtta Trikonasana.

Come back to center with straight legs and still in a forward bend for head to knee pose. If you want, move through Warrior III for a final balance challege, or simply move bring the legs together for Forward bend. Luxuriate in the release for at least five breaths, and slowly rise to Tadasana before completing the series on the opposite side.

Pictures to follow! Let me know how this sequence works for you… And see you on the mat!

Love, Truth, Beauty: Here, Now. That’s Yoga.

7/25 class – seated forward fold and twists

Greetings! It’s been a privilege to get back to class with all of you! Thank you for coming and bringing your beautiful presence.

This week we focused on folding forward from Dandasana, or Staff pose, and twisting. Dandasana is to seated asana what Tadasana (Mountain) is to standing – home base.

We focused on the sensations and position of our pelvises, especially relative to our low backs and also to our femurs/thighs. The pelvis is so important because when we move forward from sitting, our hamstrings (or back leg muscles) are already stretched. In order to move from our core, our pelvis must tilt forward like a bowl pouring water. This requires attention not to go beyond the point where our pelvis can tip further and to protect our lower backs (lumbar spines). That’s why we payed so much careful attention to lifting the pelvic floor and pulling the naval toward the spine. This internal support protects the back, strengthens the core, brings awareness to the root of movement and helps us lengthen from the backs of our legs without crunching the fronts of our backs.

Focus and attention on the core also helps us twist from our low bellies and get the most from the wringing action of spinal twists. Rather than leading with our shoulders, we initiate the twist from deepest muscles of our bellies and feel a more even, deep and supported spinal rotation. Depth is not the same as distance in a twist. It doesn’t matter at all how far you can turn your head or shoulders around. It matters a lot how much power you feel coming from your core and moving you into unexplored territory of your mind/body. Remember, you are twisting your abdomen and all it contains as well as your spine.

Finally, I told you I’d pass along the readings we listen to while setting our individual intentions. At the North Valley Senior Center, we read May Sarton, from Recovering, A Journal:

(she’s quoting from The Journals and Letters of the Little Locksmith, no author given:)

I think the secret of much of the unrest and dissatisfaction with one’s self
and longing for a more vivid, expressive existence is the thing planted deep
in everyone – turning toward the sun, the love of a virtue and splendor that
must be adored. One has an inward sense of harmony. I mean one recognizes,
by instinct, the celestial harmony and must try to adjust one’s natural
discord and dis-symmetry to match it. One is always trying to tune one’s
self to an unheard perfection.

At The Endorphin Power Company, I read from Theodore Roethke’s The Waking:


… Great Nature has another thing to do

To you and me; so take the lively air,

And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.

What falls away is always and is near.

I wake to sleep and take my waking slow.

I learn by going where I have to go.

Namaste.

7/25 class – part 1

7/25 class – part 2