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Pasasana (Rope Pose) is challenging asana, but struggling in it can cause you to tune out and lead to injury—quite the opposite goal of yoga! Try to walk the line between excess exertion and passivity so you’re truly in the moment, actively engaging and listening to your body. Use this step-by-step instruction from Annie Carpenter, creator of SmartFLOW Yoga, to find energetic and physical balance as you deepen your twist and move into Pasasana.
4 steps to master Pasasana
1. Start with your right side a few inches from a wall and squat with your feet together. Allow your heels to lift. Revolve to your right, reaching your left arm across your right thigh and placing both hands on the wall for balance. Press your palms into the wall. Inhale; exhale to leverage a deeper twist. Push your left arm against your right thigh and your right hand into the wall. Begin to drive your heels back and down.
2. When you have mastered the wall (gecko) variation, come away from the wall and place a folded blanket under your heels. Grab a strap in your right hand. From a modified squat with your feet together, reach your left arm as far down the outside of your right leg as you can, initiating a deeper twist. Gently bend your left elbow and draw the forearm across both shins. Inhale to elongate your spine and reach your right arm up, then back. Bend your right elbow and reach toward your left hand. With both hands, hold the strap, pulling to open your shoulders and chest.
3. Your shoulders and chest will eventually open enough to release the strap. Grasp the left hand or wrist with your right hand. Then press your heels down, roll your right arm and chest back even more, and breathe smoothly.
4. When ready, remove the blanket and drive both heels back and down, evenly; this will lift your hips slightly. Keep pulling both thighs back. (You may need to more vigorously suck the left one back as well as draw the right one down, to balance your hips.) Try to deepen and slow your breath, lengthening your spine on your inhales and deepening your twist on the exhales. With a good grip on your wrist, bend your elbows more to pull your arms back and open the right shoulder. Feel your right chest expand, and look back over your right shoulder with a soft and sweet gaze. Try to hold here for 3–5 breaths. If you lose your balance, try propping up your heels slightly with a folded mat. On an exhalation, gently release the bind and unwind before starting over at the wall and slowly moving into Pasasana on the left side.