As we continue the journey of Ashtanga yoga, we find that the practice helps us to build strength and flexibility. Using the breath and the drishti (concentration) we create a balance in the body that settles the mind with long slow breathing with the inhales and exhales in coordination with the movement. Vinyasa actually means “the marriage of breath and movement”. We continue to work the asana pose with effort and ease, never forcing the movement and always working with mindful intention.
Today we look at Parsvakonasana “A”, also known as Extended Side Angle Pose.
You stand with a relatively WIDE pose, about the distance of one leg with the front heel aligned with your left arch for stability.
BEND the front knee until it is over the right ankle making the front thigh PARALLEL with the floor. Don’t worry, it takes time to get there.
Sink deep into the front hip joint and release your torso down and externally rotate your thighs.
Reach your upper arm overhead and draw your shoulder blades down the back while gazing at the upper fingertips.
Eventually, you build a straight line from the knife-edge of the back foot to the tips of your fingertips.
Please do check out the excellent YouTube Video from my teacher Kino as she walks us through the asana step by step. It’s only 3.17 minutes and really makes the asana come to life.
Patience may one of the greatest tools in our yoga journey as we TRY to practice more and more difficult poses. JUST TRY! Some days we can catch the pose and some days we don’t. It’s all good, just continue to focus on the breath and the movement to reap the benefits. PRACTICE!!!
By Dr. Bruce E. Barkus
Dr. Bruce E. Barkus came to yoga, like most people, to become more flexible, get stronger and reduce stress. Low and behold he fell in love with all the other benefits yoga provides. He has been very consistent with a daily practice for the last eleven years and has come to look at it as part of his daily routine. Bruce’s certifications are Yoga Alliance RYT 500 through Asheville Yoga Center and 500 hours of Ashtanga Training for teachers with Miami Life Center. He teaches Ashtanga at Level Yoga in Vero Beach Florida and at Asheville Yoga Center. Over time, his students started asking for more details on poses and the benefits of a daily practice, so he started doing the pose of the week. There have been many that have guided his yoga practice, including Kino MacGregor, Tim Feldmann, Doug Keller, David Keil, Manju Jois, Stephanie Keach, and Lewis Rothlein. The poses he shares are primarily from the Ashtanga Primary Series as he finds the basic postures build a solid foundation for all the advanced poses.