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Yoga teacher Kathryn Budig photographed by Jasper Jahal 86 YOGAJOURNAL.COM

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Yoga teacher Kathryn Budig photographed by Jasper Jahal 86 YOGAJOURNAL.COM

right heel near your right sitting bone. Reposition your pelvis so that it forms a precise right angle with your straight leg. Press your right hand down on the floor behind you and hold the front of your right knee with your left palm as you tilt the top rim of your pelvis forward.

Exhaling, pull with your left arm to turn your trunk to the right, keeping the right knee stable and taking care not to turn your pelvis at all. Instead, relax your front and side belly muscles to soften the waist, and allow them to stretch freely as you turn first from your lower back and lower rib cage, then from your upper ribs and shoulders.

As you do this, be careful not to pull the left side of your sacrum forward. With each inhalation, lift your spine tall; with each exhalation, turn farther into the pose, always keeping your pelvis square. Cross your left arm to the outside of your right knee only if you turn so far that you need more leverage to turn effectively.

Now, without coming out of the pose, see what happens if you turn your pelvis bit by bit along with your twist. On your next exhalation, slide your right sitting bone backward a half inch along the floor without lifting it up, and twist deeper into the pose. As you turn your pelvis, press your left sitting bone down and put more weight on its front edge to tilt your left pelvic rim as far forward as you can. Stop your pelvis there, and on your next exhalation, turn your spine farther.

Repeat this sequence several times. Observe carefully at each stage to feel what degree of pelvic rotation, if any, puts the arms in the best position and helps you twist most deeply, while also keeping your spine tall and avoiding strain on your back and sacrum.

Once you've found your optimal degree of pelvic rotation in Marichyasana III, you can use a similar technique to find it in other twists. As you do, keep in mind that for the pelvis in twists, the right angle is not always a right angle. ■

Roger Cole, PhD, is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and sleep research scientist in Del Mar, California. For his teaching schedule, visit rogercoleyoga.com.

Lessons In Gnagi Yoga

Lessons In Gnagi Yoga

This book is a beautiful explanation of Yogi Philosophy. Everything about Hindu philosophy for the non-Eastern reader. It talks about nature, forces and reason. The Yogi Philosophy and its several branches or fields are presented with great detail.

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