Parsvottanasana (parsva means side; uttana means intense stretch), is one of my favorite forward bends. What I appreciate most in this asana is how the whole body is invited to be active and relaxed at the same time. Working on this pose I focus on grounding the legs and remaining aware of the feet and the extension of the spine; this allows moments of total balance. Staying alert and relaxed allows the body to sink into the stretch, little by little. When we are present, working with our alignment, present with the body’s energies, feeling what is happening and relaxing the mind in each breath, that’s when the magic happens. Yoga’s healing power fills the practitioner and the opportunity for healing is created. What a blessing! Simple yet so effective.
In this particular pose, the lines of energy are very clear and precise. This pose brings the body a sense of expansion and balance. We elongate; we feel spaciousness; and we become lighter and happier. First find alignment and then wait for the body to move with the stretch at its own pace. That moment teaches patience and self-love.
Start in tadasana (mountain pose), then join your palms behind your back and draw your shoulders and elbows back. You are essentially doing namaste (prayer pose) with your hands behind your back. Separate your feet 3 to 3 1/2 feet apart. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and turn your left foot in at a 45-degree angle. Turn your chest to face your right leg and square your hips. Inhale to open the heart. Look up! Exhale and bend over your right leg at the hips, leading with your heart. Keep both legs straight and take the ribs toward the thigh. Stay in this alignment, observing sensations and breath. Maintain your attention on relaxing and stretching simultaneously. Stay for two to three long, slow breaths.
To come out of the pose, inhale, firm the legs and the feet and pay full attention to this transition as you come up through the strength of the legs. Repeat on the other side. When you are finished, step back to center, release your hands and stand quietly in tadasana. Close your eyes and savor the way you feel.
I’m interested in creating space for a yoga practice that encourages self-healing and conscious healing of the body, mind and spirit. Yoga is natural medicine; asanas,pranayama (yogic breathing) and meditation are profound tools that can open energies in the physical, emotional and mental bodies. The beauty of this practice is balancing, centering and expanding in the heart, which creates unity. I have so much respect for what yoga focuses on: infinite possibilities for transformation, inner strength and appreciation for life. I teach yoga to support what is inside us waiting to blossom.
I come from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, so dance is in my blood. Connecting comfortably with my body helps me understand that a relaxed body promotes a relaxed mind. From this place of calmness and quietude, the search for inner balance is what I teach. I’m inspired daily in my relationship with my students; the dynamic exchange keeps the wheel of healing and love turning.