Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras with the first of the Niyamas – Saucha or Purity. Since we are in the middle of an April Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Seated Twist or Parivrtta Sukhasana (pa-ree-VRR-tah sook-HA-sana) and Reclined Twist or Jathara Parivartanasana (jah-TAH-ruh PAH-ree-var-tah-NAH-sa-nuh) are my choices to represent Saucha, since these twisting Asanas assist in detoxification according to BKS Iyengar. I have seen this twisting/detoxifying benefit debated, but most agree that twisting Asanas do help with digestion.
We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for April! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Saucha Day today, I recommend a gentle Yin or Restorative class which will likely feature these twisting poses.
I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Twist and Align, which includes many twisting poses!
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try our twisting Asanas for Saucha Day! These poses are frequently included near the end of class for all levels Yogis and all styles of Yoga. Make sure to hold these twisting poses for a few breaths, and ALWAYS practice twisting Asanas on both sides!
If you would prefer an off-the-mat practice for Saucha Day – try a self-care deep clean!
Parivrtta Sukhasana – Seated Twist Pose
Start in a comfortable cross-legged position of your choice – I prefer Siddhasana over Sukhasana. If the cross-legged positions are not comfortable seats for you, you can try in Virasana instead. Whatever seat you choose, make sure your hips and shoulders are aligned and stacked over each other before you begin, and upon returning to center.
Inhale and sit tall, perhaps press your hands into your knees to help lengthen your spine. On an exhale, bring your left hand to the outside of your right knee, and rest your right fingers on the mat behind you to bring your shoulders around to the right.
Lengthen your spine on inhales, and twist a bit further if comfortable on exhales in twisting poses. You can gently press your fingers into your knee to help deepen the twist. Hold for several breaths, and return to center on an inhale.
Make sure to repeat on both sides! If you are seated in a cross-legged position, flip your feet the opposite way and perform again on both sides.
Jathara Parivartanasana – Reclined Twist Pose
Start laying on your back in Shavasana or Corpse Pose with your knees bent and feet on the mat. Exhale and hug your knees in towards your chest.. you may want to enjoy this pose for a few breaths before starting the twist!
Inhale and bring your legs up slightly away from your chest so your knees are over your hips, and extend your arms straight out at shoulder height with palms facing down to prepare for the twist. On an exhale, lower both legs down to the right until your right knee touches the ground, making sure your knees stay parallel to or below hip level (NOT tucked up towards your arms, which can cause injury!). Try to keep both shoulders on the ground. If comfortable, you can lift your head slightly and look towards the left, or just keep looking straight up.
Take deep breaths into your belly (perhaps try Vilona Pranayama) and hold this pose for at least 3-5 full breaths. Inhale to lift your legs and come back to center, then exhale your legs down to the left and repeat on the other side.
For a slightly deeper twist you can either hop your butt slightly to the left before twisting to the right, and repeat this little pre-twist booty hop on the other side. For a much deeper twist, you can cross your left leg over right leg before lowering legs to the right, and vice versa.
PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!
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Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried these twisting poses before? Always remember, be kind!