Friday, October 31, 2008

Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose

We did twists and spine lengthening this week in class. When I have a class that is a bit more advanced, I have them try Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana, for an intense arm/torso/hip/inner thigh stretch. Everyone tried it, but most of them groaned...especially when I demo-ed stretching the upraised arm towards the foot. "Oh, right," was the exact quote.

Once I had everyone stand up and move into Trikonasana (Triangle), though, I got to thinking about how similar these two poses are. Legs are spread, spine is lengthened and then twisted, arms reach down and overhead. The knee cap has to keep lifting so that the thigh engages and keeps the extended foot pointing up, tailbone stays pointed towards the floor.

So let's try Revolved Head-to-Knee this week. After a workshop a couple of years ago, I posted a long discussion of this pose, if you need some instructions. Since we did Triangle recently, see how this one compares. I actually prefer to do it at the end of my gym workout; I find that having exercised for 30 mins. beforehand really helps my ability to lengthen and twist.

If reaching overhead makes you groan, try wrapping your belt around the extended foot and holding on to both ends in the position. You can still twist and extend, but the torso won't be folded as much. And think about the actions of makes this pose less intimidating.

See what you think!


Barrett said...

Being 31 now, all I can say is that I notice a difference in this posture at the present moment vs. when I was a teenager and started practicing yoga. I remember thinking a lot "What's the big deal?" about postures that were listed as being difficult in my Iyengar book.

Now I understand! I can still make the posture "look" good, but boy, it doesn't feel good when I do that. So, I try not to let my ego make my hand come all the way over to the foot. Only if I'm warmed up and it feels good do I "complete" this posture anymore.

I don't know - maybe your focus on this for a week will help me practice this posture with an eye towards figuring out how to get to the place in my practice where it feels good again.


Men-Ho said...

Dear Brenda, just came across your blog and it sure looks interesting!
It is now bookmarked :)

Brenda P. said...

Barrett--this pose is completely different depending on the time of day, for me. A good lesson in how the body ages (41!). It is always it's best after a rigorous workout...but at the gym, not a yoga class. Something about being hot and warmed all over seems to really release my torso. First thing in the morning--forget about it!

Men Ho-welcome!

Connie said...

I love that pose actually, even though there are days that its not the most friendliest!!

Peace & Love.