Even if you could sail through Surya Namaskar in your sleep, we invite you to join us in revisiting the keystones of asana. Unlearn what you know, break your bad habits, and see if you can’t makeover your entire flow by re-focusing on a few foundational poses. Try an advanced approach to basic asana with SmartFLOW teacher trainer Tiffany Russo. Get #backtobasics with us all month on Facebook and Instagram.
There is something to be said for revisiting basic postures year round but maybe even more so in January, when there seems to be such a mad rush to finish whatever we didn’t last year, completely overhaul our entire routine overnight, and accomplish everything—now. To that urgency, I say, SLOW DOWN!
Twists, like the new year, can often invoke that same sense of wanting more. But when we crank into a twist, we lose the even length on all four sides of the spine. And when our spine is not aligned, the flow of prana is disrupted. What I’ve learned through my own practice is that we get further if we slow down the process. Deepen the twist by using the breath: Inhale for length and let the exhalations happen naturally to turn the torso around the axis of the spine. When you slow down and become more mindful of your movements, you are able to become more interested in the process—how the body as a whole, including the mind, is affected by the changing shape—than the outcome of the final posture. This may not be a method for pushing our edge, but it is a way to cultivate the awareness to practice within the edges of strength and ease and strike that sattvic sense of balance.
Practicing Revolved Crescent Lunge (or a Twisting Low Lunge with the back knee down to modify) with this kind of mindfulness, perfectly prepares the body for all standing twists, Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana and even arm balances like Eka Pada Koundinyasana I.
Ready to try it? Step one: Take a moment to pause, connect back with your breath, and slow down.