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Little Boat Twist (parsva pavana muktasana)

Warm-up posture that increases the flexibility of your back.

Little Boat Twist (or parsva pavana muktasana) is beneficial for increasing the flexibility of your back and releasing tension in your lower and mid spine. This pose also helps to open your shoulders and chest. When you twist your body in Little Boat Twist, you stimulate your abdominal organs to help aid digestion. Although this pose is a useful warm-up pose, you may also want to use the pose to cool down at the end of a yoga practice.
While performing Little Boat Twist, make sure you keep your upper back and both shoulders in contact with the floor. You should also breathe evenly, visualizing your body softening deeper into the twist with each exhalation.
If you find the twist in Little Boat Twist too intense, you can perform the pose with your feet on the floor, instead of drawing your knees into your chest. Avoid performing Little Boat Twist if you have abdominal problems or if your neck feels strained in the pose.
Begin in Little Boat Pose.
Extend your arms out to your sides at shoulder height, with your palms facing down.
Exhale as you lower your knees to the right toward the floor. Keep your knees together.
(Make sure you keep your upper back and both shoulders in contact with the floor throughout the pose.)
Turn your head to the left and look over your left shoulder, keeping your neck relaxed.
Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then inhale as you return to Little Boat Pose.
Repeat steps 2 to 5 for your other side.
You can modify Little Boat Twist if you feel discomfort in your neck or shoulders. If you feel discomfort in your neck, look up at the ceiling and tilt your chin slightly down to lengthen the back of your neck. If you feel discomfort in your shoulders, place your hands on the floor, with your palms facing up, and relax your shoulders down to the floor.
How can I incorporate movement into Little Boat Twist?
Perform the pose as described above, except slowly twist from side to side five to ten times instead of holding the pose. To coordinate your breathing with the movement, exhale as you move into the twist and inhale as your knees and head come back to the center. This movement helps massage your back and release tension in your spine.
How can I intensify the pose?
You can intensify the pose to provide a deeper stretch for your spine, lower back and hips. Perform the pose as described above, except after you lower your knees toward the floor, straighten your legs. Your upper body and legs should form a 90-degree angle. Make sure you keep your legs together and straight, but do not lock your knees.
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