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THREADING THE NEEDLE POSE

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• Begin on your hands and knees. Place your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Point your fingertips to the top of your mat. Place your shins and knees hip-width apart. Center your head in a neutral position and soften your gaze downward. This is Table Pose.

• On an exhalation, slide your right arm underneath your left arm with your palm facing up. Let your right shoulder come all the way down to the mat. Rest your right ear and cheek on the mat, then gaze toward your left.

• Keep your left elbow lifting and your hips raised. Do not press your weight onto your head; instead, adjust your position so you do not strain your neck or shoulder.

• Let your upper back broaden. Soften and relax your lower back. Allow all of the tension in your shoulders, arms, and neck to drain away.

• Hold for up to one minute. To release, press through your left hand and gently slide your right hand out. Return to Table Pose. Then repeat the pose on the opposite side for the same length of time.

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Benefits

Thread the Needle pose is a safe and effective way to stretch the hips, particularly the piriformis muscle. Releasing tension in the hips helps to create a sense of physical ease throughout the entire body, particularly in the knees and low back, as well as mental ease and clarity.

Practicing Thread the Needle pose often can produce a marked sense of openness in the hips in preparation for deeper poses such as Full Lotus (Padmasana) and Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana).

This is also great prep work for arm balances like Flying Pigoeon (Eka Pada Galavasana) and Grasshopper!.

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