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#PowerPose 21 – Parivṛitta Utkaṭāsana

We’re still a couple of weeks away from the official start of a new season, but Spring is in the air!  The temperatures are rising, the tulips are sprouting, and windows are opening.  This time to shake off winter and transition to a time of growth and new life is the perfect time for twisting.  Twisting postures clean out and detoxify the body, renewing it for optimal and healthy performance.  They are also great for creating heat and intensity to burn through what no longer serves you, whether it’s a few extra winter pounds or the winter blues.

Parivṛitta Utkaṭāsana or Twisted Fierce Pose is just the thing to add a little Spring cleaning and fire to your practice.  It’s also a great building block for lots of other challenging twisting postures.  Working from a grounded base and keeping extension in the spine will help maximize the effects and benefits of this pose.

Try these variations to explore this pose:

IMG_1354_2Option 1 – Basic Twist.  With the feet together, bend the knees, reach the hips back, and keep the weight evenly distributed through the feet.  Watch that the knees don’t drift forward over the toes.  Find balance between the depth of the bend in the knees and the backward reach of the hips.  Take the opposite hand to the opposite thigh, creating tension in the twist.  Keep the back long and move the gaze behind you if it feels good on your neck.

IMG_1357_2Option 2 – Hook the Elbow.  Bring the hands to the heart in anjali mudra.  Twist over the thighs, reaching from the side body, not from the shoulder.  Hook the elbow over the opposite thigh, using the thigh for leverage to deepen the twist.  Check to make sure the knees remained in line.  Square the hips by reaching them in the direction of the twist.  Take the gaze up as the neck allows.

IMG_1359_2Option 3 – Arm Extension.  Work on the twist until you can brace the tricep to the thigh, and you can line up the hands with the sternum.  Roll the shoulders onto the back, then fly the arms open.  Eventually, the arms will extend in a long line with the fingertips touching or reaching to the floor.

IMG_1360_2Option 4 – Pre-Bind.  When you can extend the arms and maintain the integrity of the twist, begin to work towards a bind.  Reach the top hand around the back.  Rotate the palm and reach the hand toward the hip crease.  Roll the top shoulder away from the ear.  Leverage the bottom arm against the thigh to deepen the twist. As you wring out the body work also to wring out the mind.

Marrying the posture with mental release and detaching from thoughts and feelings that no longer serve you can have more impact than the most advanced postures. Follow this #PowerPose challenge @suzannewrightyoga on Instagram or at Suzanne Wright Yoga on Facebook.  If you post your pictures or about your experience be sure to tag #PowerPose and @suzannewrightyoga.

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