Keeping revolved chair pose fresh (with video)

If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you know I’m all about exploring familiar poses in a new way. Lately, I’ve been exploring utilizing my core muscles more in twisting poses.

Typically, I’d rely on my arms, particularly my elbows, to help me enter revolved chair or revolved crescent lunge. First, I’d position my arms, then I’d twist. The pose www always more about stretching out my sides than engaging my oblique muscles. That focus can actually be a little risky — without engaged muscles, it’s easy to overstretch and endanger the spine and ribcage by twisting farther than the body can handle.
Instead, I’ve been using my obliques to twist, then use the arms to stabilize myself in the pose. Here’s how it breaks down:
1. Starting from standing, enter chair pose by bringing the big toes to touch, allowing a couple of inches of space between the heels, and bending the knees.

2. Bring your palms to touch in front of the sternum. Press equally through your heels, the outer blades of the foot, and the bones under your big and pinky toes; be careful not to grasp with the toes. Stack your knees over your ankles — you should be able to see your toes. Neutralize the pelvis by creating a straight line from the nape of the neck to the end of your tailbone.

3. Begin shifting your torso toward the right by turning your shoulders so your left and right shoulders are flush with the wall toward your right. Without bringing your left elbow to your right thigh, slowly lower the torso and hold for three breaths. Use the power of your core to keep your upper body lifted.

4. Switch sides.

5. Begin your twist toward the right again and hold for three breaths, keeping the trunk lifted. Then, bring the left elbow to the outside of your right thigh. Keep the knees in a straight line (your left knee may want to inch forward), and ensure the hip creases are squared with the wall in front of you. Bring awareness to the obliques. With every inhale, extend the crown of your head forward, and with every exhale, use the obliques — rather than your arms — to deepen the twist. Hold for three to five breaths and switch sides.

To see the pose in action, watch the video below:

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