Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana: Revolved Hand to Big Toe Pose
Parivrtta hasta padangusthasana (par-ee-VRIT-tah HAS-ta pod-ang-goosh-TAHS-anna) is a balancing posture that asks for flexibility. Use props and modifications to make this challenging posture accessible from right where you are.
Philosophy + Origin
While the name of this pose is straightforward, many yoga teachers call it dancing Shiva, which opens up a whole new perspective for understanding parivrtta hasta padangusthasana. Traditional depictions of Nataraj, or dancing Shiva, show the arms and legs moving fluidly across the body, which is how the shape of this posture earned it its nickname. Shiva’s dance is often referred to as a cosmic dance of bliss, showing the universal cycles of creation and destruction, birth and death. Practicing dancing Shiva is a recognition of these cycles, and improves the ability to find balance and peace in the midst of eternal change.
- Place a strap around your lifted foot to create more space.
- Reach your back hand to a wall for extra support.
- Keep your gaze forward or to the side to help with balance.
- Keep your back hand on your hip for added stability.
- Begin standing at the top of your mat. Shift your weight into your right leg, pressing down through all four corners of the foot.
- Draw your left knee toward your chest. Loop your first and second finger of your right hand around your left big toe.
- Stand up tall. Lift your head up and drop your tailbone down.
- Place your left hand to your left hip, level your pelvis. Extend your left foot forward, pressing through your heel.
- Reach your right hand toward the back of your mat.
- Slowly start to move your gaze back towards your right hand.
- Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths before untwisting and slowly lowering the lifted leg down to the floor. Pause in standing for a few breaths before repeating on the other side.
- Revolved half moon | Parivrtta ardha chandrasana
- Revolved triangle pose | Parivrtta trikonasana
- Reclined hand to big toe pose | Supta hasta padangusthasana
- Parivrtta = revolved
- Hasta = hand
- Angustha = big toe
- Asana = pose
- Strengthens and lengthens leg muscles.
- Stretches deep gluteal muscles and outer hips.
- Improves balance.
- Improves mental and emotional balance.
- Boosts confidence.
- Energizes and steadies the mind.
Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose
Bhujangasana (boo-jang-GAHS-anna) is a great way to strengthen the upper back and is often practiced as part of a transition back to downward-facing dog in vinyasa yoga. Practicing cobra pose regularly can improve your lung capacity, reduce stress, and stimulate many of the internal organs in your body.
Philosophy + Origin
Although often perceived as evil or dangerous, snakes also have a rich history of power and worship. In some yoga traditions, the energy of kundalini is represented by a serpent resting coiled at the base of the spine. By awakening this snake, we enliven our body’s energy and create a pathway towards enlightenment. This connection with enlightenment is also seen in many portrayals of the Buddha where he is shown with a cobra over his head.
- Option to swap cobra pose for sphinx pose by placing your forearms on the floor.
- Lengthen the back of the neck to avoid straining the neck and upper back.
- If you experience discomfort in the lower back, bend the elbows more.