Parsva Balasana: The Thread the Needle Pose

Parsva Balasana (PAR-S-VA bah-LAHS-anna), also known as the Thread the Needle or Revolved Child’s Pose, is a simple posture that gently compresses the chest and opens the shoulders while calming the body. During this exercise, make sure to maintain a focus on your breathing. We often forget to consciously focus on our breathing, taking full breaths throughout the entire exercise. Pay attention to how the Thread the Needle Pose affects your breathing.

Sanskrit:

  • Parsva: side, plank
  • Bala: baby
  • Asana: pose

Tips:

This mild and simple posture stretches the chest and shoulders. While this can help with relief from discomfort and prevent strain, exercise caution. Go slowly and don’t push your body beyond its limits.

Level:

Beginner (1)

Physical Benefits:

  • Gently compresses the muscles of your upper chest
  • Opens the upper and outer muscles of your shoulder
  • Sends fresh blood to your upper extremities

Energetic Benefits:

  • Detoxifies and calms your body with the slight twist

Mudra: Jnana Mudra

Incorporate the Jnana Mudra into your Thread the Needle Pose, as it is believed to be the gesture of acceptance and calmness, and has deep ties to the divine nature of understanding beyond our ego. This mudra is often used for meditation and literally translates to “wisdom sign” or “knowledge gesture.”

How to:

While in your asana, fold the index finger and until it touches the base of the thumb. The index forms a circle, but the thumb remains straight out. Gently straighten the other three fingers gently.

If you wish to practice the mudra before and/or after your exercise, you can continue the gesture through its full meditation routine by placing your hands (as described) on your knees with your palms downwards. Each hand’s three fingers should point forward and downwards. Relax your shoulders while keeping the spine straight, focusing on your technique during this meditation.

Mantra:

Shanti Mantra

The Thread the Needle Pose detoxifies us and calms our bodies, bringing about a sense of serenity and peace. The Shanti Mantra can be regularly chanted to continue to unlock long-term joy beyond your daily exercises.

sarvesham svastir bhavatu

sarvesham shantir bhavatu

sarvesham purnam bhavatu

sarvesham mangalam bhavatu

Om santih santih santih

Translation:

May there be well-being for all,

May there be peace for all.

May there be wholeness for all,

May there be happiness for all.

Om Peace Peace Peace

Preparatory Poses:

  • Balasana
  • Bharmanasana
  • Marjariasana
  • Svanasana
  • Vajarasana

Follow-Up Poses:

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Bharmanasana
  • Vajarasana

Contraindications and Cautions:

This pose is a gentle, relaxing exercise, but you should still check with a doctor before performing the pose if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Serious shoulder or neck injuries
  • Back and hip conditions

Adjustments/Modifications:

  • If you have back or hip conditions, take care not to overdo the twist
  • Place a blanket underneath to offer more support to either your knees or shoulders
  • A similar stretch can be done in seated or standing by crossing one arm over your chest and hooking it with the opposite
  • For a deeper twist:
  1. Cross your free arm (your right in this case) over your lower back
  2. Clasp your left upper-leg with your right palm pressed into your quadriceps
  3. Hook your right fingers around your inner thighs

Step-By-Step:

  1. Begin in a neutral tabletop position with your hands and knees on your mat.
  2. Tuck your toes under your feet. Adjust your knees to hip-width distance if necessary.
  3. Walk your right hand forward one to two inches in front of your shoulder then to the outside edge of your mat.
  4. Turn your chest and gaze toward your right hand as you slowly lower the outer edge of your left arm onto your mat. Allow the left side of your skull to rest on the floor as well.
  5. Hold and breathe as any tension in your shoulder releases naturally.
  6. To exit, use your right hand to push yourself back to a neutral tabletop. Repeat on the opposite side.

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