Parivrtta Utkatasana: Revolved Chair Pose
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.
- 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.
- Begin in chair pose with knees together and weight mostly in your heels.
- Bring your hands together into a prayer position at the center of your chest.
- Inhale to lengthen your spine. Exhale to hinge forward then twist to your right, hooking your left elbow outside your right thigh.
- Press your palms together to create more space between your collarbones.
- Keep your knees together. Lower your hips an extra inch.
- Hold for 3-5 breaths before releasing to a forward fold. Return to chair and repeat on the other side.
- 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
- Parivrtta = revolved
- Utkata = powerful, fierce
- Asana = pose
- Strengthens hip flexor muscles, front of thighs, adductors, and gluteus muscles.
- Lengthens side bodies.
- Opens chest, shoulders, and upper back.
- Ignites and stimulates agni (digestive fire) in your belly.
Ardha Uttanasana: Half Standing Forward Bend
An effective stretch for your hamstrings and calves ardha uttanasana (ARE-dah OOT-tan-AHS-anna), is often used during vinyasa sequences to connect the breath as you flow from one posture to the next.
Philosophy + Origin
One of the reasons ardha uttanasana is used so much in vinyasa yoga classes is that it positions the body for chaturanga dandasana. Because it engages the navel and core, it’s a powerful pose for warming up the body, which is why it’s included in warm-up sequences. Despite its sometimes transitory nature, the pose also engages the navel chakra (manipura), which can bring the practitioner increased confidence and willpower.