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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Uttanasana: Standing Forward Bend

standing forward fold share

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

A soothing posture for body and mind, uttanasana (OOT-tan-AHS-ahna), or standing forward bend, is straightforward but far from simple. Requiring flexibility in hamstrings, hips, and calves, uttanasana also requires patience. Watch the ebbs and flows in your body and life reflected in this simple posture.

Philosophy + Origin

In uttanasana, knowing when to accept intensity and when to be content with where you are is key to steady progress without injury or frustration. It’s easy to try to push for more — with uttanasana, this means wanting to be more flexible or pushing further into the pose. Rather than struggling, use the posture to practice santosha (contentment). Can you accept both the intensity and your capacity right now?

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