Sit in Dandasana. Bend the right knee and bring the right foot to the floor outside the left thigh. Roll slightly to the left and bend the left knee to bring the left foot by the left sit bone. Roll back the the right, grounding both sit bones equally in to the mat. Squeeze the right knee in toward the chest and lift the crown of the head. If you find it difficult to keep both sit bones on the floor, you can add a little height underneath you or take the pose with the left leg extended.
Press the entire right foot into the floor and begin to twist bringing the right hand to the floor just behind you. Draw the front of the belly and the inner right thigh together as you continue to twist. Try and broaden across the front of the chest and shoulders equally. The left arm can wrap around the leg or you can bring the left elbow to the outside of the knee. Don’t overuse the arms to come in to the twist. Instead, try and find your twist first without using the arms and then once you have found your maximum rotation, use the arms simply to stabilize and more fully align the pose.
For some people, a bind might be possible here bringing the right arm around the back and the left arm under the right leg, though until the hips are open enough to sit straight up in the pose without keeping the hand behind you for support, this will be awkward for most. Usually what happens is that you will lose length in your spine, the connection to the floor underneath the right sit bone, and most of the internal integrity of the pose. It is more important to keep an upright spine than to try and force your way deeper into the twist.
The shoulder blades should be lightly drawn together on the back and firmed against the back of the rib cage. Use the breath to lengthen the spine as you inhale and empty and engage the belly as you exhale, supporting the lumbar spine while twisting from the thoracic. Stay in the twist until you feel you have gotten your work, then switch sides, staying in the second side for as long a you did the first.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!