Extended Crow Sequence

Twists are used in yoga to cleanse and detox the body. They are an opportunity to wring out the old and make room for the new. They feel amazing when done correctly. Now the key to understanding twists, is understanding functional movements of the spine.

In her article published in elephant journal back in 2013, Michaelle Edwards, founder of Yogaalign, reminds us to practice twists with caution, “When practicing any pose where one twists with the lumbar spine flat or reversed, there will be strain and over-stretching of the lumbar/sacral ligaments needed to provide hip stabilization, and also the main shock absorbing elements in our spine and hips.Many delicate nerves exit the spine in the lower back and neck area, innervating our limbs and organs. Ligaments hold our bones together, and when they become loose, the hip joint loses integrity which can lead to hip and groin pain and in some cases; replacements.”

In this sequence, be mindful to maintain your lumbar curve, and allow the twist to move more from the thoracic region (mid-spine). This sequence is designed to open the hips, warm up the spine, and strengthen prepare the body for this fun variation of Side Crow.

Twisted Pigeon

  1. From Downward facing dog, extend your left leg back behind you. Look forward and place the knee behind your left wrist, outer shin to the mat, toes point toward your right hip. Gaze back making sure your back leg is straight, toes lined behind ankle, gaze forward.
  2. Square off your hips to the front of the mat by hugging the left hip back as you melt the right hip down and forward.
  3. Press tented fingertips down into the yoga mat in front of you.
  4. Hook your left elbow down onto the right side of your mat, pressing the right hand to meet the left in prayer.
  5. Press down through the hands and guide them towards the center of your chest (thoracic twist) to open the chest to right, shoulders relax down the back.

Revolved Side Angle (parivritta parsvokonasana)

  1. From standing forward fold, step the left foot back setting up for high lunge.
  2. Firm the outer hips in, activating the inner thighs and deep core muscles as you press your hands together in front of your heart stacking shoulders up over hips.
  3. Following an exhale, hook your left tricep to the outer front thigh.
  4. Press the outer thigh in and you guide your hands towards the center of your chest (thoracic twist) to open the chest to right, shoulders relax down the back.

Revolved Chair Pose (parivritta utkatasana)

  1. From Standing, step the feet together keeping an inch of space between the heels.
  2. Firm the outer hips in, activating the inner thighs and deep core muscles as you press your hands together in front of your heart and sink the sitting bones down bending deeply into the knees (chair pose, utkatasana)
  3. Following an exhale, hook your left tricep to the outer front thigh.
  4. Press the outer thigh in and you guide your hands towards the center of your chest (thoracic twist) to open the chest to right, shoulders relax down the back.

Side Crow Variation (Parsva Bakasana)

  1. From Standing, drop down into a squat, knees together, pop onto your toes, hands pressed together in front of the heart.
  2. Following an exhale, hook your left tricep to the outer front thigh, planting your left hand down to the mat.
  3. As you plant the right hand down, connect your right elbow and left knee.
  4. Establish length in the spine, shift forward creating a platform with your chataranga arms.
  5. Lift one leg up and then the next.
  6. For a challenge, keep the front leg where it is as you extend the back leg strait stretching from your hip, out through your foot.

Supine Twist

  1. Lie on your back, with your knees bent (kneecaps directly over ankles).
  2. Bring your arms out to a T-shape.
  3. Press the feet down, lift the hips a few inches from the floor, turn the hips to the right, dropping onto the right sitting bone, release the legs to the right.
  4. Lengthen your side body long.
  5. Drop your left shoulder down and back.
  6. Gaze left. Stay for 10 breaths. Switch sides.