We've got a surrendering, shoulder-releasing, spine-twisting, sweet-spot, simple stretch for February - Thread the Needle! Those who know it already love it, and if you're new to Thread the Needle you're in for a real treat. Also known by its Sanskrit name Parsva Balasana, Thread the Needle opens up your upper body - shoulders, chest arms, upper back and neck. Perfect for those who sit at a desk all day and need a niiiice opening stretch to counter any shoulder hunching!
- Begin in Table pose, on your hands and knees. You can choose to either have your toes tucked under your feet, or the tops of your feet relaxed on the mat (by sitting back on your heels in the posture a lovely stretch will be felt in the hips, thighs, and lower back).
- As you exhale, raise your right arm high to the ceiling, then "thread" it underneath your left arm until it settles on the floor, palm facing up, with right shoulder resting on the mat and your cheek on the floor.
- You can choose to have your left arm resting on the floor, or lift it and wrap it around your back and tuck your hand into your right hip crease to increase the twist.
- Hold and breathe in the posture. Letting any tension in your shoulders melt away. Stay here for 3-6 breaths (or longer if you want a deeper stretch).
- To come out of the pose, unwind your left hand (if you're in the twist), push up through your right hand and raise it to the ceiling, and come back up into Table pose.
- Repeat on the other side!