Energy Freeing Pose + Twist/Apanasana+Jathara Parivartanasana
Stretches and releases the spine, lower back and hips. Often used as a warm up pose.
Do not underestimate the value of this simple pose. Have patience, do slowly, hold long and use variation for optimal benefits.
Lie on your back/supine with an exhale draw the knees toward the chest with the hands lightly on the knees, fingers facing towards the feet, compressing your lower abdomen away from the tops of your thighs and bringing the upper arms into the upper body(latissimus and triceps) and elbows towards the waist(pectoral muscles).
Inhale relaxing/lengthening the arms without loosing your hand placement.
With each breath drawing the thighs closer to the rib cage, repeat the rhythmic coordination of alternate pulling and relaxing 6 x and then hold the pull steadily for an additional 12 breaths.
Variations: Morning Wake-Up Stretch
Do single right leg draw in, with other leg straight, lengthening and pushing down onto the mat, stretching the hips independently, both feet flexed.
With left hand on right knee draw the leg up and across the body, tilting the sacrum forward slightly to arch the low back. right heel can rest on thigh or hover, anchor right shoulder to the mat. Extending right arm in airplane from the shoulder and turning the head to the right.
Breath and release into the pose with each exhale.
Then bringing the right leg/knee into the right hand and opening up to the right. Extending left arm in airplane and turning the head to the left, keeping the left side of the body, from heel to shoulder, in contact with the mat.
Reverse, beginning with single left leg apanasana, twist cross over/opening.
Do 6x each side, including apanasana and twist cross over/opening.
Physical Benefits: Apanasana, when held long enough, can release tensions of the lower digestive system, stimulate peristalsis, release back pain and produce a general sense of openness in the body. Generally massages the abdominal organs. The Twist increases flexibility of the back and releases tension in the lower and mid spine.
Can help release menstrual cramps by holding longer.
Mental Benefits: Relieves stress, mild depression and anxiety.
Adaptations: Widening the knees if overweight or hips are tight by drawing the knees towards the shoulders.
Rocking from side to side with knees to chest.
Can also hold the leg on the back of the thigh instead of the shin.
Any discomfort in the inguinal region where the thigh connects to the pelvis my be relieved with a strong mindful relaxation of the site or opening the knees wider than the torso with the feet together.
Contraindications: Apanasana: recent hernia, knee injury. Twist: low blood pressure, menstruation.