Kneeling Twist / Thread-the-Needle
I can’t find a specific Sanskrit name for this one.
- Begin on hands and knees with a neutral spine. Make sure that the knees are right below the hips and that the wrists, elbows, and shoulders are in a straight line.
- Inhaling, life your right arm up to the ceiling. Keeping hips centered, stretch up.
- Exhaling, bring the right arm down, under the body, and out under the left arm. Rest the right arm and shoulder and the right temple on the floor.
- Rest here, or if you want a deeper stretch, extend the left arm to the ceiling.
- Relax into the pose, breathing deeply.
- When you’re ready, bring the left arm down and plant the hand on the floor. On an inhale, unwind, lifting the right arm and stretching up toward the ceiling.
- Release and return to a neutral tabletop pose. Repeat the twist on the other side.
Twisting poses compress the internal organs, releasing toxins and cleansing the body. Twists are beneficial for abdominal health. This pose also incorporates a side stretch that opens the chest.
This pose is contraindicated for students with serious back/spine injuries. Pregnant students should be cautious with any twist and may want to consider doing Cat/Cow instead.
My Experience of Kneeling Twist / Thread-the-Needle:
Before coming to my current yoga center, I rarely did this pose, but now I practice it regularly both in class and at home. J often uses this pose as part of his warm-up sequence in class, and so I’ve really come to like the pose. The twisting action and side stretch begin to wake the body up for practice and also calm the mind, readying it for practice as well. The pose is refreshing by itself and makes a good warm-up too.
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At Elderflower WomenSpirit Festival ( http://elderflower.org/ ), I participated in a yoga session where we started with “7 directions.” It was Cat-Cow, a pose I don’t know the name of, and Thread the Needle. The pose I don’t know the name of was also done on hands and knees: we turned to look at our tails (keeping our backs parallel to the ground).
We speculated that the 7th direction might have been neutral?
That’s really interesting – I never heard of “7 Directions” before but it sounds like an interesting way to start a practice. It’d make sense for neutral to be the 7th direction, too. It sounds like it would stretch out your spine really well!
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Thank you! Great description and nice photos!
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