Twists are often a great way to expand, relax, and breathe, but they're not always a walk in the park. Throw in a twist while balancing on one foot and you’ve got a real challenge on your hands!
It may take some time, but as you'll see, there's much to learn and much to gain when it comes to the Standing Twist (Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana). Come on, give it a try!
Twists are beneficial for a number of reasons; they are detoxifying, they provide relief to the back, they tone the obliques, and more! A standing twists is a wonderful way to cultivate balance and awareness of the core. In addition, it still carries all the benefits of seated and supine twists with the bonus of honing focus, strengthening the legs and arches of the feet, and in general making you feel awesome.
1. Start in Tadasana. Ground the feet into the earth. Firm the thighs and rise tall out of the hips. Descend the shoulders away from the ears.
2. Next, transfer the weight into the right leg. Again, push the foot into the earth and then rise as tall as you can, lengthening all the way from your tailbone to the top of the head. Scoop the lower belly in and up gently in a J-like motion.
3. Lift up the left knee until the leg is in an L shape. The thigh is parallel to the floor. Flex the left foot, keep it active.
4. On an inhale reach the right arm up. Exhale place the right hand to the outside of the left knee. Keep the gaze steadily in front of you. Keep pulling energy in toward your belly button.
5. Inhale again and lengthen the back as much as possible. Remember to keep the abs slightly engaged and the standing leg strong to prevent wobbling.
6. Exhale and start to twist. Turn the torso toward the bent leg. Keep the hips square. Imagine a light beaming from the middle of your waist. Try to light up the back of the room, turning form that flashlight and not from the hips.
7. Inhale again, steady yourself and lengthen up more.
8. Exhale and start to turn the head, trying to gaze behind you. This is the super tricky part.
9. If you find balance, extend the left arm back behind you.
10. If you have the flexibility, hold the outside of the right foot with and extend the leg straight.
As in any balance, be patient with yourself in Standing Twist. Certain days will be easier than others, so if you fall out of it, re-ground and try again.
The more you add this into your practice, the more developed and deep your twist can become, so have fun working it up and feeling the many benefits!
Image Credit and Yogi: Anna Coventry