Easy Cross-Legged Twist
by Jennifer Arnold

parsva = side
sukha = easy
asana = posture

1. Sit in Sukhasana with your legs crossed at the shins, the left shin in front of the right, and one or more folded blankets under your sit bones. Feel your sit bones connect to the ground beneath you and your spine lengthen upward.

2. Inhale and lift your spine a bit more; exhale and bring your left hand to your right knee. Inhale and continue to lift; exhale and rotate your belly to the right while bringing your right hand to the ground behind you.

3. Raise the sides of your waist. Keep both shoulders rolling back and down. Let your shoulder blades glide down your back and in toward your body. Keep your spine vertical, your head in line with your tailbone, and your chin parallel to the ground.

4. As you hold this posture, allow each breath to guide you deeper into the pose being mindful not to force the rotation. Breathe into it. Hold for 3 – 5 breaths.

5. Inhale and slowly unwind. Change the cross of your shins and repeat on the opposite side.

Sometimes as we rotate the torso, the hand that moves behind the back doesn’t quite reach the ground. We then end up leaning back to get the hand to the ground. This causes a collapse in the entire posture. If you find this happening to you, bring a block or a thick book behind you. As you rotate, place your hand on this support, lift up through the sides of the waist and feel evenness throughout your posture.

This posture helps to stretch and strengthen the intercostals, abdominal, and intervertebral muscles; relieves back aches and stiffness in torso and neck; flushes internal organs and spine with fresh nutrients, blood, and oxygen; massages abdominal organs; teaches receptivity – all in a gentle and accessible way.