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.


Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

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.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • 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.
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