Parsva Balasana: Thread the Needle Pose
Parsva balasana (PARS-va bah-LAHS-ah-nah) is a simple twist and gentle inversion that can warm up or calm down your body.
- Parsva = turned
- Bala = child
- Asana = pose
- Twists the thoracic spine.
- Gently compresses the muscles of the upper chest.
- Stretches the upper and outer muscles of the shoulder.
- Childs pose | Balasana
- Table top |Bharmanasana
- Cat pose | Marjariasana
- Downward facing dog | Adho mukha svanasana
- 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.
- Begin in a neutral tabletop position with your hands and knees on your mat.
- Exhale to reach your right arm under your left arm.
- Lower your right shoulder and ear to the ground.
- Keep equal weight in your knees, feet straight out behind you.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths. Release back to table top, then repeat on the other side.
Urdhva Dhanurasana: Upward Facing Bow Pose
Urdhva dhanurasana (OORD-vah don-your-AHS-ah-nah) is a deep backbend that can cultivate flexibility, strength, and patience.
Philosophy + Origin
Urdhva dhanurasana is thought to increase the vital life force in the body, specifically around the heart. When practiced regularly and with dedication, even if the “full” pose is never achieved, upward facing bow pose can awaken courage, compassion, and radiance in the mind and spirit.
- Blocks on the wall: Place two blocks against a wall, about shoulder distance apart. Place your hands on the blocks as you move into urdhva dhanurasana to help elevate your upper body and better engage your shoulder blades.
- Strap: Use a strap around your upper arms to prevent the elbows from splaying as you press upward.
- Block: Place a block between your thighs to keep your lower body engaged.
- One-legged: Try out eka pada urdhva dhanurasana by lifting up one leg at a time.