Detox with yoga during the holidays in Revolved Crescent Lunge, Parivrtta Anjaneyasana. Parivrtta in Sanskrit, or in the language of yoga, means revolved. Anjaneya means praise or salutation. Honor yourself while twisting and balancing in this fun and challenging posture. Twisting postures provide the opportunity to detoxify the organs and bring suppleness to the spine, while strengthening and toning the body.
To do the posture: From downward facing dog, on an inhale breath, kick the left leg high behind you. On an exhale, using the strength of the core, draw the left knee in toward the chest and bring it all the way through, coming to a low lunge. Stack the left knee above the ankle. If this is a challenge, grab the ankle with your hand in order to place the knee over the ankle for stability and in order to properly align the joints. The back toes stay tucked under and the weight is on the ball-mound of the foot.
If you feel unstable, drop down to the back knee to modify and to take the balance out of the posture. Another option is to widen the left foot towards the left edge of the mat to create a wider foundation. (Imagine the feet are more stable like train tracks, rather than like on a tight-rope).
Bring the arms over the head and straighten the arms, palms facing each other. Inhale to lengthen through the fingertips and on an exhale, relax the shoulders away from the ears and bring the palms at the heart center. Inhale to lengthen the crown of the head slightly forward and lean the torso long, and on an exhale breath, bring the right elbow outside of the left knee. If this is too much of a twist, rest the right elbow on the left knee and bring the left hand to the hip, to still receive the benefits of the twist.
If the palms are at the heart, draw them close to the sternum. On an inhale lengthen the spine and crown of the head forward, on an exhale, twist the torso and spiral the heart up towards the ceiling. Notice that the hips are still “squared” facing downwards, towards the earth. The twist starts at the core. Inhale to lift the belly off of the thigh and to activate the core. On an exhale, deepen the twist and find balance.
Notice the breath, if the breath becomes shallow, back off from the twist. We benefit most from the posture when we find the delicate balance of effort and ease, maintaining a smooth and steady breath. When the breath becomes unsteady, the mind begins to wander and the tendency to lose balance becomes more frequent.
Benefits of the posture include detoxifying and toning the organs while strengthening the legs, hips, buttox, core and spine. Revolved crescent lunge provides opening and stretching of the chest and shoulders, as well as suppleness and strengthening of the spine.
If we can apply the balance of ease and effort while practicing yoga, we can then apply this concept to our daily lives. We will learn to adequately push ourselves out of our comfort zone when needed, while maintaining steadiness and a calm disposition.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If
a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, In Rhythms Yoga, Clairemont, S.D.
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