DETAIL + DEPTH – BADDHA PARSVAKONASANA, part two

Hyde is proud to present our second guest blog from Los Angeles based yoga teacher Ellen Huang. Her popular Instagram series DETAIL + DEPTH features key preparations, modifications, and variations dedicated to a single pose. Read on for part two of her expert tips on Baddha Parsvakonasana, Bound Side Angle Pose.  Use this as a resource for your own practice or teaching. Enjoy!

Ellen Huang preparing Badha Parsvakonasana
Ellen Huang preparing Badha Parsvakonasana via Gomukhasana with 2 blocks

GOMUKHASNA WITH 2 BLOCKS

Now it’s time to move onto the upper body by preparing to internally rotate the shoulders while opening the chest. This is a difficult thing to do. Typically when we let our inner arms roll toward the chest, the back rounds and chest collapses. In order to take the bind in baddha parsvakonasana, both the lower and upper arms must first internally rotate before clasping the hands below the legs and behind the back, respectively.

Gomukhasana arms is the perfect place to prepare for this, as would be clasping opposite elbows behind the back or reverse prayer. Sitting in gomukhasana with the legs (which continues to work the opening of the hips), bring one arm 90 degrees out to the side with the thumb pointing down, palm pointing back. Lift and broaden the chest, bend the elbow, and draw the elbow in toward the body to walk the hand up the back. Open the fingers, and try to get each of the fingernails to evenly press into the back. Reach the inner hand into the back as much as the outer hand. I’ve placed two cork blocks as support under my elbow as an added base of support. Push the back of the hand into the spine to spread the collarbone of the same side and lift the chest, then reach the elbow straight down into the blocks. Stay and breathe.

Gomukhasana with block behind the hand
Gomukhasana with block behind the hand

GOMUKHASANA WITH BLOCK BEHIND HAND

Part 2 of the shoulder opening is this prop setup, which increases the challenge of the opening by adding weight. Place a cork or wood block between the back of the hand and the sacrum. Press the hand into the block as the low belly pulls back toward the block. Lengthen the spine and lift the chest. Gently draw the shoulder back. This can also be taken in progressively more challenging stages by walking the block and hand up the back toward the upper thoracic spine. See previous post instructions on the positioning and focus of the hand. Stay and breathe.

 

Marchyasana 3 with strap
Marichyasana 3 twist with strap

MARICHYASANA 3 TWIST WITH STRAP

After stabilizing the legs and opening the chest, the twisting preparation for baddha konasana should come pretty naturally. This is an open twist with a leg setup similar to marichyasana 3.

From the seated mari 3 variation prep (sitting up on a blanket or two is helpful!), belt the thigh of the bent leg and place the tail of the strap behind the back. Take a full inhale and raise the right arm. With an exhale, twist to the left and catch the outer arm against the inner knee. Keep the arm straight and take the back hand to pull on the tail of the belt. Sit tall, and press the front arm into the leg as the foot steps firmly onto the ground. Widen the back arm while pulling the strap. Stay and breathe.

 

Ellen Huang is a Los Angeles-based yoga teacher passionate about structural alignment. She is creative with props and purposeful with sequencing to open the body, mind and heart. Find her @practiceyoga.la and www.practiceyoga.la.

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