Monday, August 4, 2014

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning Seated Twist

Find an energizing twist of the spine while practicing Marichyasana III, a seated twist, on the stand-up paddle board. While practicing yoga on a SUP board, it is important to practice poses in which you can find a safe and stable alignment, rather than compromising the body. In Marichyasana III, find stability in your foundation, through the sitting bones, while sitting tall through the spine and through the crown of the head. The benefits of the pose include bringing vitality and suppleness to the spine while strengthening the core.

To move into Marichyasana III, first move into Dandasana as a preparatory posture: come to a seat on your board, with the knees bent. Place your sitting bones towards the back of the board so that you can extend the legs, while finding balance and come into Dandasana, Staff Pose. (See photograph for Dandasana or or click here for full instructions.). Come to a neutral seat with the sitting bones, adjusting the pelvis forward and backward to find neutrality. Bring your palms by the hips, pressing the fingertips down into the board, in order to sit with a tall spine. Draw your shoulders down the back and draw the low-belly in. Take a few breaths here, slow and smooth inhalation and exhalations, to allow yourself to slow down and be present.

To move into Marichyasana III: bend the right knee and bring the sole of the right foot as close to the buttocks as possible. (Contrary to the traditional pose, notice that while on a SUP, you may find that bringing your foot a little closer towards the knee may allow for more stability while practicing on the moving water, similar to the yoga model photographed). Bring the palms to interlace below the right knee, drawing the knee closer towards the buttocks, and allowing the spine to grow taller.

Take an inhale breath to prepare. On an exhale breath, bring the left elbow to the outside of the right knee while bringing the right fingertips behind the back, on the board. Focus on the breath. On an inhale, reach the crown of the head towards the sky, creating more space and length on the spine. On an exhale, allow the breath to gently pull you deeper into the twist as you twist the torso in the area of the ribcage. Notice the expansion of the chest, and draw the shoulder blades down the back.

Continue to create length through the left leg by pressing the left leg and heel downwards into the board. Flex the left toes towards the face. Stay here and breathe, 3-5 rounds of breath, smooth and calm inhalations and exhalations. Notice that the breath may feel slightly constricted because of the twist.

To come out of the pose: sit tall and slowly unwind, noticing the shifting of the board as the pelvis and torso adjusts back to a neutral spine. Slowly move into the pose on the opposite side, creating balance in the body.

Notice how you feel after practicing yoga outdoors on a SUP board. Allow the breath to come back to natural and notice the sensations of the body as well as noticing the sounds, and sensations happening while outdoors on the water. Rest for a few minutes in Savasana, Corpse Pose, as an option. Allow the shoulder blades to lay flush on the board and notice that the heart space is open. Allow the palms to rest upwards towards the sky. Take in the present moment. Be grateful as the breath continues to flow and life unfolds.

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, owner of In Rhythms Yoga

Christi Iacono is a certified yoga teacher, at the 500 hour level, and she is the owner of In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mounts streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve their body. Contact for more info. IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.

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