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whoAs one who mainly teaches at sunrise, my dawn motivation is to help the student transition from the morning slumber into a state of focused awareness. Practicing early in the morning is challenging in many ways. For most, the hardest asana is the getting-out-of-bed asana, especially when the alarm goes off and it’s dark and cold outside.
The body is a very different creature at that time. Lethargy from a night’s sleep makes the muscles tight and the mind cloudy, so typically easy postures become more challenging to embody. The focus of practice then becomes the process of waking up. As the shift from darkness into light brings forth the new day, we can use the morning metaphor for our own daily awakening. That is, the movement that evolves out of stillness, conscious awareness that arises out of the dream state, and the search for balance that comes out of indifference.
Parivrtta ardha chandrasana (revolved half moon pose) is both a balance pose and a twist. Nothing wakes you up quite like standing on one leg. Your attention to detail is heightened as you work toward finding the alignment that will ultimately bring you into balance.
Twists stimulate and invigorate the core musculoskeletal system of the spine, including the pelvis and shoulders. It is through the entire body working harmoniously, and in symphony with the breath, that we can reap the awakening benefits of a twist. The circulatory system and internal organs are also stimulated and cleansed as a result of the twisting action.
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