Once you find your center, you can move in new directions.
By Rachel Brahinsky with Charles Matkin
Twisted Fan Pose
This pose appears simple, but it can be challenging to hold your center. Stand with your feet parallel and about a
leg's distance apart. Work with your knees slightly bent and firm the hamstrings against the quadriceps to avoid
hyperextension. Squeeze your legs toward each other isometrically—as though you were riding a horse.
On an inhalation, lengthen the waist. Then exhale and tip the torso forward, keeping it long. Walk your hands forward
as far as you can while keeping the spine long and even. Stay stable: You should be able to lift your hands off the
floor without falling. Inhale and draw the shoulder blades together; as you exhale, press the navel toward the spine.
Before you twist, bring your right hand onto your lower back to check what Matkin calls the "temperature" of
your spine. If you overextend the lumbar, you'll have a spinal dip that's too deep, which he calls a "hot
spot." If, however, the area is not extended enough, it will feel a little "cold." So if your lower back
is rounded toward the ceiling, make it "hotter" by arching a bit more, or you can "cool it down" by
lengthening the tailbone away from the waist. Finding a balanced "temperature" will feel like a relief if
your hamstrings are overstretched.
Maintaining a long axis from your left hand through the spine, twist and grasp your left ankle with your right hand,
and look under your left armpit. To keep stable in your core while opening, allow the twist to feel expansive and
luxurious, but don't let the pelvis rotate too much.
Stay in the pose and work with your breath long enough that, as Matkin puts it, instead of "doing" the pose,
you start "being in" the pose. Don't push right away to your edge; it's more advanced to start where it's
easy and explore without pushing. When you're ready to come out of the pose, reach your arms forward and, keeping the
waist long, try the other side.