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Spinal Twist

Ardha Matsyendrasana

Ardha Matsyendrasana, Half Spinal Twist

Half Spinal Twist

"I radiate love and goodwill to soul-friends everywhere."

Ar-dha Mat-syen-draa-sa-na

Ardha = half; Matsyendra = the mythological

first yogi (name means "Lord of the Fish")

Instructions

From dandasana, bend your knees and slide your right foot under your left knee, placing it on the floor just outside your left hip, with your right knee directly in front of your navel. Cross your left foot over your right knee and place it on the floor. Sit squarely on both sitbones.

Place your left hand on the floor by your sacrum, and wrap your right hand around the outside of your left knee. Level your shoulders. On an inhalation/ lengthen your spine, pressing down through your left arm to help give length. On the exhalation, gently begin to rotate your torso to your left, rotating only in your lumbar spine.

Continue gradually, over the course of a number of breaths: inhale and lengthen, exhale and rotate. Move the twist progressively up your spine, finishing with your neck. Relatively early in the twist, it will feel more comfortable to place your left knee in the crook of your right elbow; as you twist farther, you can bring your right elbow to the outside of your left knee, with your right hand resting on your left thigh. Keep your shoulders level and relaxed at all times.

As the twist nears completion, begin mentally affirming, "I radiate love and goodwill to soul-friends everywhere." Continue affirming while in the completed twist, breathing smoothly and naturally.

To exit, inhale and lengthen your spine, then begin to rotate back the other way on the exhalation, beginning with your neck and moving down your spine. Take as many breaths as needed to exit comfortably back to a forward-facing position.

When finished, bring both knees up to your chest and wrap your arms around them. Keep your spine straight.

Pause to integrate the effects of the twist, then repeat to the other side.

 

Garudasana

Garudasana, Eagle Pose

Eagle Pose (also. Twisted Pose)

"At the center of life's storms I stand serene."

Ga-ru-daa-sa-na Garuda = the eagle sacred to Vishnu

Instructions

From tadasana, shift your weight onto your left foot. Fix your gaze on a stationary point on the floor or on the wall in front of you. Bend your left knee slightly/ bring your right foot in front of your left foot, and wrap your right leg around the left as far as possible, keeping your left leg bent.

Bend your left arm 90 and bring it up in front of you, forearm vertical at the midline of your body. Wrap your right arm underneath and around your left arm, with the inside of your right elbow under your left elbow, palms together. Keep your chest lifted, pelvis facing forward.

Breathe smoothly and naturally as you hold the pose and affirm mentally, "At the center of life's storms I stand serene."

To exit, release your arms, then inhale and spread your arms wide to the sides. On the exhalation, release your right leg and return to tadasana.

Pause to integrate the effects of the pose, then repeat to the other side.

 

Jathara Parivartanasana

Supine Twist (literally. Revolved Abdomen Pose)

"I open to the flow of God's life within me."

la-tha-ra Pa-ri-var-ta-naa-sa-na Jathara = abdomen, belly, stomach;

parivartana = turning around

Instructions

From savasana, bend your left knee and slide the foot toward your buttocks. Press the foot into the floor to lift and move your buttocks 4-6 inches to the left, shifting your weight onto the right buttock. Place the sole of your left foot on top of your right thigh/ just above the knee. Extend your left arm along the floor directly to your left, palm facing up, and bring your right hand to the top of your left knee. Inhale and lengthen your spine, then as you exhale, begin to rotate the left side of your pelvis around toward the right. Continue inhaling and lengthening, exhaling and rotating, always keeping your left shoulder on the floor. Feel the twist move farther and farther up your spine. Finally, lift your head slightly and rotate it to gaze out over your outstretched left arm, then place the rotated head back on the floor.

Breathe smoothly and naturally as you hold the pose, lengthening and opening more and more through your entire spine. Mentally affirm, "I open to the flow of God's life within me." To exit, rotate your head back to center, inhale and lengthen your spine, then as you exhale, rotate the lower body back to center once again. Slide your buttocks back to center and extend your left leg on the floor, corning into savasana.

Pause to integrate the effects of the pose/then repeat to the other side.