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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Phalakasana: Plank Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Phalakasana (fall-ack-AHS-anna), is an essential posture for a strong yoga practice. Holding plank pose will improve your endurance and muscle tone, help develop the strength needed for more complex poses, and generate heat and stimulating the navel chakra.

Philosophy + Origin

Hidden in the pose’s name is the Sanskrit word “phala,” which means to bear fruit or ripen. In yoga, the idea of tapas, often translated as “heat,” “passion,” or “discipline,” fuels the physical asana practice, encouraging students to seek out the challenge again and again in order to become stronger, to build an internal flame in the body that fuels every aspect of life. When you think of plank pose as an opportunity to “ripen” or “bear fruit,” you become aware of the transformative effect of this seemingly simple (although challenging) pose. Each time you enter the pose, use the breath to ripen the fruit of your labors. The ability to hold this pose with steadiness and grace is known to create major shifts in your practice and your life.

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