Parivrttaikapada Sirsasana

(Revolved Split-Legged Headstand)

OK, off with the training wheels. It's time to fly! After a 30-sccond Headstand and a brief visit to Parsva Sirsasana, split your legs, right leg forward and left leg back. There is a tendency to drop the front leg much lower, so focus on the opening of your back leg. Twist so that your front leg crosses your midline. Keep your eyes soft but focused, your arms strong, and your neck elongated and easy. Strongly extend your legs as your feet remain alert and spread. Orient your pose from your point of contact with the ground and your back leg. Feci the even arc of your body between these points.

To remove pressure from your lower back, press your tailbonc against the movement of your back leg. Contract the hamstringofyourback leg toward its own sitting bone. Then engage the quadriceps more in your front leg as it lowers closer to the ground. Even though your legs split and reach, you also isometrically draw them back into your pelvis. Throughout this pose, broaden the muscles of the back from the spine as the spine and the sacrum deepen into the body.

As you begin to master this asana, bend your back leg when you are fully twisted; then, as you straighten your back leg again, twist further.

When you arc twisting to your maximum, there will be a strong tendency to hold your breath. Monitor your breath, and turn with your exhalations. Be willing to let go of your determination and back up from your maximum position in order to ride the ebb and flow of your breath. The breath may be more rapid or shallow than it usually is, but try to find a place where the breath has the quality of being absorbed into the lungs to help you release any strain.

Initially practice this pose for 5 to 10 seconds on each side, moving over time to 30 seconds on each side. Between sides, come back to Sirsasana for 5 to 10 seconds to regain your center.

Have fun and play in the mystery of the unknown and unfamiliar. Venture out with your feet awake and your eyes receptive. Settle in the lap of Mother Earth and spiral up into the wild blue yonder. *

Colleen Said/nun is the owner and director of Toga Shanti in Sag Harbor, New Tork. Rodney Tee continues to value the puzzles his life offers and uses his yoga practice to help him unravel them. Together, they teach yoga around the world. For more information, visit yogashanti .com or yccyoga.com.

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