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GETTING INTO THE POSE
Lift your left leg. Keep it in front of you and externally rotate it. This does not mean taking your leg to the side; it means rotating your leg from the root of the limb. Your leg will still be in front of you and your pelvis will not have moved. Then, bend the lifted leg and place it on your standing thigh. Extend back through your two sitting bones, even though they are not in a symmetrical placement. Then, lift up through your torso and steady your gaze in front of you. Twist to the right and place the back of your left hand or arm in the arch of your right foot. You can gently press the arm and foot into each to discover whether you can twist or open up your chest a little bit more.
WORK LANDMARK 2
Reach your arms away from each other from the roots.
WORK LANDMARK 4
Reach back and down to lengthen your spine.
Feel your two sit bones reaching back evenly. Exhale as you twist Inhale to lengthen.
Non-Peak Peak Poses
It’s fun to put all the pieces together in a yoga class and work your way into a complex pose. The multilayered aspect of complex poses gives us lots to organize, and that can be a fun challenge. But at the end of the day, yoga is not really about climb- ing a peak or having any kind of peak experience. It is the practice of equanimity and inclusivity. Yoga helps us include all parts of our self—the parts we don’t like so much, the parts we do like, and the parts we haven’t yet been brave enough to embrace, like our grumpiness, fear, and jealousy. Concentrating too much on how to get into one particular pose can overstretch and overwork certain areas, not to mention it can move us toward craving a particular result from our efforts. Yoga is not the same as a task. It is a long-term project that can last your whole life. It offers a myriad of experiences, many that we could never have predicted. So, instead of going for a peak anything, keep exploring. See how your actions come together to make certain poses, and then notice how that experience dissolves and is over. We are learning the truth of impermanence. Since everything arises and passes, we try to appreciate it in the moment that it is here.
Alternatives to Half Rotated Standing Fire Log Pose
BRIDGE VARIATION, WITH ANKLE TO KNEE
Practice lifting up from the belly button to come into bridge pose. (Press down with shoulders, arms, and hands to open the chest.) Maintain symmetry in your pelvis as you extend one leg up to the ceiling, externally rotate it from the top of the thigh. Then bend your knee out to the side as you place your top ankle on the opposite knee. This leg situation is the same as the pose above, so this gives you a chance to imprint that work without worrying about balancing. Stay for a few breaths, then switch sides.
See also 6 Steps to Master Bridge Pose
SUPINE TWIST VARIATION, WITH ANKLE TO KNEE
Lying on your back, extend your left leg straight up the ceiling, externally rotate it from the top of the thigh, and then bend it to come into a figure four position. On an exhale, twist to the right and place your left foot on a block or on the floor, if that feels OK. Do not push your top knee open. Let it be where it is and relax your weight into the floor. Be curious about how your body unfolds. Stay here for 5 breaths. Inhale to untwist. Switch sides.
REVOLVED HEAD-OF-THE-KNEE POSE (PARIVRTTA JANU SIRSASANA)
The twisting action here is similar to that of the primary pose. From a seated position, externally rotate both arms from the tops of the arms. Exhale and bend to the right. Place your right arm on a block or on the floor on the inside of your right leg. Use the leverage of the right arm against the right leg to increase your twist. Just a little bit, breath by breath. Make sure your top arm is straight. Press down with the left hip and the reach up and over with the left arm. Stay for 5-8 breaths. Inhale to come up. Switch sides.
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