Anuvruttasana Variation: A Take on the Parabola Pose

{ NOTE: this was previously posted on July 6, 2010 here: a VERY summer post- SOMETHING to look forward too after the rain!!! }



Anuvruttasana Variation: A Take on the Parabola Pose

Writing: Chrisandra Fox

Photography: Faern

Anuvruttasana, (sometimes written ‘anuvittasana’), comes from anuvrtta — “rounded off,” and refers to the parabola-shape of the pose. This month’s pose is a variation of this standing backbend, and an opportunity to glimpse the deep joy one can experience from the freedom of standing alone, in the light of one’s true Self.

In the fourth pada, or part, of the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali describes the path of kaivalya — renunciation, or detachment and freedom from worldly desires and actions. According to the classical tradition, dedicated practice can lead the yogi from a divisive mind state to this place of illumined intelligence and purified consciousness. The nature of this freedom is aloneness or isolation, in which consciousness rests purely in the light of the soul, or the seer. Here, one is freed from the influence of the gunas, or qualities of nature. Through dedicated practice, the yogi has removed the obstacles to her evolution, and finds eternal happiness as she stands in the light of her soul.

While kaivalya may seem like a stretch for the practitioner deeply engaged with family, work responsibilities, and worldly pursuits, you may taste the joy of freedom in this variation of Anuvruttasana by standing in your center with steadiness and ease and opening the spine without support and without fear of falling.

The Pose

Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), with your feet the distance of your hips. Inhale and raise your arms out to the sides. Rotate your upper arms inwardly, bend your elbows and bring your hands together for viparita namaskar (reverse prayer). Press the backs of your hands against your back ribs with your fingers pointed toward the sky. Place your pinky fingers against one another, and connect each finger until your hands are in anjali mudra (prayer) behind your back.

If the shoulders are tight, grasp each elbow with either hand instead, and rest your forearms against your back.

Hug your elbows toward your side ribs to encourage the inward rotation in your upper arms and to spread your shoulder blades broadly across your upper back. Lean your back ribs into your forearms, and shift your hips forward. Keep your throat soft as you draw your chin in slightly toward the base of your skull. Work your legs strongly, press your inner thighs back and draw your weight steadily into your heels and across the bases of your toes. Gaze softly toward the tip of your nose as you lean your torso back. Trust in your stance as you draw back through the crown of your head and release your neck. Soften your collarbones away from you ears. Keep your inhalations full in your back body, side ribs and into the uppermost part of your lungs as you soften your front ribs toward your pelvis and continue to release back through your spine.

This pose can feel exhilarating and, yet, steady. Don’t push, but allow your spine to take the shape of the backbend as you ground weight through your legs. When you are ready to come out, slowly bring your chest above your pelvis on an inhalation and lift your head. Draw your chin toward your throat to keep your energy grounded in your body and enjoy the taste of freedom.



Chrisandra Fox teaches weekly classes at Yoga Tree, Yoga Garden and leads The Heart of Renewal Retreats in California and beyond. She teaches in Yoga Tree’s 200-hour Teacher Training.

Faern is a mixed media artist, photographer and yoga practitioner in San Francisco. Visit her website, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.


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