Thread the Needle can provide a satisfying stretch through the chest and shoulders. Also, the gentle twisting motion can help stretch the muscles in the lower back and release tension in the upper back as well as easing tension in the shoulders and in-between the shoulder blades.
1. Start on all-fours. Place knees a bit wider than the hips and hands closer together.
2. As you inhale reach your right fingertips toward the ceiling. As you exhale, thread your right arm between your left arm and thigh with your palm facing up. Let your right shoulder come all the way down to the mat. Rest your right ear and cheek on the mat too. Soften your gaze to your left. Keep your tailbone in the air (N.B. Do not press your weight onto your head – adjust your position as necessary to not strain your neck or shoulder.)
3. Allow your upper back to broaden and relax your lower back.
4. With each exhale visualise any tension in the shoulders, neck, back and arms dissolving. Stay here for 3-5 breaths or up to a minute.
5. To move out of the pose, press your left hand down and unwind your twist, sliding your right arm back.
Repeat on the left side.
NB – Please make any modifications as needed to feel comfortable in this pose. Here are a few suggestions:
– If your knees hurt, fold your mat or place a folded blanket under your knees for padding.
– If your wrists hurt in the starting position, rest your forearms on the floor.
– Rest your forearms on a bolster or stack of folded blankets to lift your torso up higher. (This variation is can useful for women who are pregnant.) Rest your ear on the bolster and let your ‘threaded’ arm move toward the floor.
Avoid this pose if you have a recent or chronic injury to your knees, shoulders, or neck.
If you have back pain, back injuries, degenerative disk disease or any other diagnosed back condition you should approach this pose with caution.
NB – Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, speak to your doctor before practising yoga.
You can currently join me for Hatha Yoga here at Create Pilates on Wednesdays 11.45am-1pm and Fridays 10.15-11.30am. View my weekly yoga class schedule here.