Parivrtta Utkatasana: Revolved Chair Pose

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Parivrtta utkatasana (par-ee-vrit-tah OOT-kah-TAHS-anna) lives up to the Sanskrit translation of power and ferocity. A great way to strengthen and lengthen the leg muscles, this challenging posture also lengthens and improves mobility in the spine. Practicing parivrtta utkatasana will give a feeling of groundedness in the lower half of the body and open spaciousness in the upper body.

Philosophy + Origin

Parivrtta utkatasana is an opportunity to practice the concept of “rooting to rise.” In order to deepen the posture, you must find strength in the legs and lightness in the spine and upper body. While it’s easy to only focus on deepening the twist, the best results come from first setting up your foundation. This philosophy of building a strong foundation through rooting and grounding is helpful in life. While your goals and aspirations, even your daily to-dos, can constantly demand your attention, get strong through your roots before you try to spread your wings.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Use a folded blanket or rolled yoga mat beneath your heels to keep your feet firmly planted when practicing this posture.
  • Keep your knees stay together to help stabilize your pelvis and protect your lower back.
  • Place a block between your inner thighs. Squeeze the block as you twist to help keep your knees aligned.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin in chair pose with knees together and weight mostly in your heels.
  2. Bring your hands together into a prayer position at the center of your chest.
  3. Inhale to lengthen your spine. Exhale to hinge forward then twist to your right, hooking your left elbow outside your right thigh.
  4. Press your palms together to create more space between your collarbones.
  5. Keep your knees together. Lower your hips an extra inch.
  6. Hold for 3-5 breaths before releasing to a forward fold. Return to chair and repeat on the other side.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

  • One-Footed Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya I | Eka pada Koundinyasana I
  • Revolved crow pose | Parsva bakasana
  • Half lord of the fishes | Ardha matsyendrasana

COUNTER POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Parivrtta = revolved
  • Utkata = powerful, fierce
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens hip flexor muscles, front of thighs, adductors, and gluteus muscles.
  • Lengthens side bodies.
  • Opens chest, shoulders, and upper back.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Grounding.
  • Ignites and stimulates agni (digestive fire) in your belly.


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Virabhadrasana III: Warrior III Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS   |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Warrior III, or virabhadrasana (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-ah-nah) III, is a challenging pose of balance and strength.

Philosophy + Origin

A fierce warrior, Virabhadra is often depicted as having a thousand heads, eyes, and feet. Draped in the skin of a tiger, this warrior wields a thousand clubs. In Virabhadra’s origin story, he is created from a single dreadlock from Shiva’s head, a manifestation of the rage he feels upon feeling like his true love has died. The shape of virabhadrasana III comes from this story, the moment when Virabhadra beheads the king Daksha and extends forward to place the head on a stake.

Despite the outward appearance and violent origin, this powerful pose is actually a great reminder of our own inner strength and the measures we would take in the name of true love.

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