Parsva Balasana: Thread the Needle Pose

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Parsva balasana (PARS-va bah-LAHS-ah-nah) is a simple twist and gentle inversion that can warm up or calm down your body.

Sanskrit:

  • Parsva = turned
  • Bala = child
  • Asana = pose

Physical Benefits:

  • Twists the thoracic spine.
  • Gently compresses the muscles of the upper chest.
  • Stretches the upper and outer muscles of the shoulder.

Preparatory Poses:

  • Childs pose | Balasana
  • Table top |Bharmanasana
  • Cat pose | Marjariasana

Sequential Poses:

Counter Poses:

Adjustments/Modifications:

  • Place a blanket underneath your knees for extra cushion.
  • A similar stretch can be done in seated or standing by crossing one arm over your chest and hooking it with the opposite arm.
  • Place your forearm (rather than your shoulder) on the ground.

Step-By-Step:

  1. Begin in a neutral tabletop position with your hands and knees on your mat.
  2. Exhale to reach your right arm under your left arm.
  3. Lower your right shoulder and ear to the ground.
  4. Keep equal weight in your knees, feet straight out behind you.
  5. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Release back to table top, then repeat on the other side.

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Prasarita Padottanasana: Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Prasarita padottanasana (pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-an-uh) is a big stretch for the hamstrings and inner leg line. With many variations available, this pose is accessible for most practitioners. This is also a great pose in lieu of headstand.

Philosophy + Origin

Prasarita padottanasana has found its way into almost every style of yoga. B.K.S. Iyengar taught several variations of this posture, labeling them as A, B, C, and D. The most commonly practiced variation is prasarita padottanasana A. Prasarita padottanasana B is when the hands are on the hips and the head is lifted off the ground, not resting on the mat. Prasarita padottanasana C is the variation where the hands are interlaced and stretched behind the back and over the head as you fold. In the final variation taught by Iyengar, prasarita padottanasana D asks the student to grasp the big toe on each foot.

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