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.
Ardha Hanumanasana: Half Front Splits Pose
Ardha hanumanasana (are-dah hah-new-mahn-AHS-ah-nah) is a big stretch for hamstrings. This pose is more approachable than full hanumanasana and strengthens the muscles needed to practice front splits safely with the correct muscles properly engaged.
Philosophy + Origin
One of the main characters of the Ramayana is Hanuman, the famous monkey god, devotee of Lord Rama, and son of Vayu (the god of wind). He is celebrated in the pose hanumanasana, which physically represents his famous “leap of faith,” taking him across the ocean from India to Sri Lanka. Ardha hanumanasana, the preparatory pose for hanumanasana, can represent the stability and strength needed to make grand, world-changing (or life-changing) gestures. Rather than only focusing on gaining flexibility, practice ardha hanumanasana to create a healthy balance of flexibility and strength. When practicing ardha hanumanasana, remind yourself of the dangers of only being flexible in life; in order to really get where you want to go, you must also be strong and stable.