Exercise: Parivrtta Trikonasana, AKA: Triangle Twist
Benefits: Relieves back pain and tension caused form paddling and prolonged sitting. Strengthens and opens the hips, inner thighs, and outer legs, ankles, feet, core, and neck. It also stimulates your abdominal organs, aiding in digestion, reduces blood pressure, stress, anxiety, and increases blood flow.
Contraindication: For those with joint, disk or SI joint pain, Trikonasana (Step 1) should be avoided. Despite this, the Parivrtta Trikonasana-Triangle Twist is beneficial in creating space in the fascia and relieves muscle tension (start with Step 2).
1. Start with the side angle lunge (as mentioned in the third installment in our stretch series). Breathe into Utthita Trikonasana by slowly lengthening the legs from a bent position to a straight position with contracted legs. Hold on to your front leg with your front hand wherever it feels most comfortable for you. It is important to engage the legs completely, focusing on opening up the hips. We will move through this hold after three to five breaths.
2. Placing the floating hand in the sky down onto the ground, keep the finger tips engaged and tented, with both toes facing forward and one hand on either side of the front leg. Relax the head for a couple of breaths and make sure the hips are even and facing forward (like the toes).
3. Parivritta Trikonasana. Reach the left hand upwards, and come into a twist. With both legs engaged and strong, move slowly, and with your breath, focus on the opening of your chest, the sides of your hips, and legs. It’s okay if the back heel is up slightly. Keep the hips facing forward so as not to twist the hips or spine but more to open the chest and stretch your hip rotators.
4. Place the floating hand on the sacrum or upper buttock region. Again, focus on the soft opening of your chest and let the eyes look directly in front of the chest. Take a breath here.
5. Only if the neck feels comfortable, look up and take a breath. Keep the feet grounded into the earth and the legs engaged.
6. On your next breath, reach the hand back up into the sky and look up with the chest. Open your chest to the sky as much as you can with comfort. Allow your heart to open to new possibilities.
7. Release both hands to the ground and sit back into a child’s pose or down dog to relieve the strong hold of the asana. Take three-five breaths and then switch sides and repeat.
As you become more comfortable and flexible with this asana, you may be able to take the hand that’s touching the earth over to the outside of the front leg for a deeper twist.
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