Thread the Needle
Urdhva Mukha Pasasana
Thread-the-Needle is a calming yoga pose where one arm threads under the torso, stretching the shoulders and upper back while promoting relaxation and releasing tension. Enhances flexibility and reduces stress.
Thread-the-Needle Pose can be done by:
Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees, with your wrists aligned under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
Inhale deeply and, on an exhale, lift your right hand off the mat.
Slide your right arm underneath your body and reach it across the mat to the left side.
As you thread your arm through, lower your right shoulder and temple to the mat, allowing your right arm to extend fully.
Keep your left hand grounded firmly on the mat to maintain stability.
Once in position, take a deep breath and, on each exhale, gently twist your upper body to the left, opening up your chest and shoulders.
Ensure your hips remain squared and level throughout the pose.
Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing deeply and relaxing into the stretch.
To come out of the pose, slowly release the twist and slide your right hand back to the starting position on all fours.
Repeat the same steps on the other side, lifting your left hand off the mat and threading it under your body to the right side.
Remember to listen to your body, and if you experience any discomfort or pain, modify the pose or seek guidance from a yoga instructor. Thread-the-Needle is a gentle and restorative pose, providing a lovely stretch for the shoulders and upper back while promoting a sense of relaxation and ease.
If you find that Thread-the-Needle pose is challenging or not suitable for your body, there are several alternatives and modifications you can try to achieve similar benefits or address specific concerns. Here are some options:
Seated Thread-the-Needle: Instead of being in a tabletop position, sit comfortably on your mat with your legs crossed. Reach your right arm under your left arm and twist your upper body to the left, resting your right shoulder and temple on the mat. This seated variation reduces pressure on the wrists and knees.
Threading the Needle with Chest Opener: In the traditional tabletop position, after threading your right arm under, extend your left arm overhead, stretching it towards the right side, and opening your chest towards the ceiling. This variation adds a gentle backbend and shoulder stretch.
Supported Thread-the-Needle: Place a folded blanket or cushion under your head and shoulder for extra support and to reduce pressure on the neck and temple. This modification can be helpful for those with neck sensitivity or injuries.
Thread-the-Needle with Blocks: If you have limited mobility or find it challenging to reach the mat with your arm, place yoga blocks under your hands. This elevates the floor, making the pose more accessible.
Child's Pose: If you are unable to perform Thread-the-Needle or need a restorative option, come into Child's Pose. Sit on your heels, reach your arms forward, and rest your forehead on the mat. Child's Pose gently stretches the shoulders and offers a similar sense of relaxation.
Remember, the goal is to find a variation that suits your body and provides the intended benefits without causing discomfort or strain. Feel free to explore these alternatives and work with a qualified yoga instructor to customize the practice according to your specific needs and abilities.
While Thread-the-Needle is generally a safe and gentle yoga pose, there are a few contraindications and cautions to keep in mind, especially if you have specific health conditions. Here they are:
Recent or Chronic Shoulder Injury: Avoid this pose if you have a recent or chronic shoulder injury, such as a dislocation, impingement, or rotator cuff tear. The twisting motion could aggravate the condition.
Wrist Issues: If you have carpal tunnel syndrome or any wrist injury, be cautious as putting pressure on the wrists in this pose may exacerbate the problem.
Pregnancy: Pregnant women should approach this pose with caution, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. Modifications, such as using a cushion or block for support, might be necessary.
Neck Sensitivity or Injury: If you have neck issues or sensitivity, avoid putting excessive weight on the temple. Consider using a folded blanket or cushion for support.
High or Low Blood Pressure: The mild inversion in this pose can affect blood pressure. If you have high or low blood pressure, be mindful of how your body responds and come out of the pose if you feel lightheaded or uncomfortable.
Lower Back Problems: People with lower back issues, especially those that worsen with twisting, should be cautious and may need to modify the pose or avoid it altogether.
Knee Injury or Instability: If you have knee problems, be mindful while threading the arm under the body to avoid putting excessive pressure on the knees.
Always listen to your body and practice mindfully. If you are uncertain about the suitability of this pose for your individual condition, it's best to consult with a qualified yoga instructor or healthcare professional before attempting it. They can provide personalized guidance and modifications to ensure your safety and comfort during the practice.