Hit pause & reverse


At this time of year I find myself hurtling into planning mode and not taking time to pause and savour the last few weeks of Summer. September looms on the horizon and with it back to school mayhem and everyone settling into post holiday routines. My mind is racing and the ‘to do’ lists has gone into hyperdrive. The thing to remember is September is in the future and thinking and worrying about it isn’t going to change anything. Pausing and breathing will!

In our practice we can take this emotion, translate it into the physical, and reverse it. Sounds complicated but stay with me. A busy mind manifests into a busy body. Think of how we walk when we are busy – shoulders hunched, head tilted and the whole upper body driving forward. We can sometimes see this in Virabhadrasana II/Warrior II when the body follows the gaze and leans forward towards the front hand – reaching for the future and striving for the perfect pose. Viparita Virabhadrasana/Reverse Warrior can help correct this and bring us back to the central column in Virabhadrasana II/Warrior II. It also opens the tissues of the lungs to help us take a deep, present moment breath. Hit pause, rewind to the present moment and enjoy where you are now.

Viparita Virabhadrasana/Reverse Warrior gives the hip opening of Virabhadrasana II/Warrior II with the addition of a shoulder and spine stretch. This sequence breaks down the main components of Viparita Virabhadrasana/Reverse Warrior and prepares you by strengthening your core and legs, opening your inner groin and hips, and warming up the shoulder joint. The core is an important element and needs to be switched on to support the spine as it works to counteract the weight of the lifted the arm. As you move through the sequence see can you break down the poses and notice which ones have similar properties to the peak pose.

When you take Viparita Virabhadrasana/Reverse Warrior try to keep your hips as low as they were in Virabhadrasana II/Warrior II. When we reach the arm overhead the hips often lift and follow the arm. Work on keeping the front leg deeply bent. Lift and lengthen through the spine and concentrate on reaching the arm up before you reach overhead. If you experience any pinching or discomfort in the shoulder joint or neck come back to Virabhadrasana II/Warrior II and work lengthening through the spine to the tip of the crown.

  • From Virabhadrasana II, inhale, turn your right palm to face up.

  • Hinge to your left from your waist, reach your right palm up and over your ear.

  • Rest your left hand on your left thigh or your lower calf, draw your navel towards your spine.

  • Let your hips settle down low as you reach overhead.

  • Lengthen through your right side body all the way to your fingertips, keep your right leg deeply bent, gaze up to your right fingertips.

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Ruth Delahunty Yogaru