By Faye Martins
There are Yoga postures that nurture all four elements: earth, air, fire and wind. Yoga poses that nurture the water element are fluid, flowing, flexible and cooling. The water within our own bodies, and the water elements surrounding us, ebb and flow through time – just as the breath ebbs and flows. By practicing Yoga asanas that cultivate an awareness of the water element in our own bodies, our awareness of the undeniable flow of water throughout our beings becomes illuminated.
If you find that you are feeling tight, contracted or stuck emotionally or physically, practicing Yoga asanas that cultivate the water element will help to loosen up anything that is stagnant and will open up energetic and physical pathways for prana or life force energy to flow easily through you. Yoga postures that nurture the water element also help to cool and calm the mind, allowing for a break from negative thoughts and a broader sense of perspective.
Modified Reclining Twist
To practice a modified version of the Reclining Twist, come to a supine position on your Yoga mat. Before beginning the practice of this posture, pause for a moment and take three complete breaths. Remember to inhale and exhale fully. When you are ready, bend your right knee into your chest. Hold your right knee with your left hand and gently place your bent right leg on top of your left thigh. Your right quadricep should rest at a 90 degree angle to your left thigh.
With your next exhale, gently apply pressure with your left hand to increase the twist. With your next inhale, release the pressure just a little bit. Repeat this process several times with your breath. Keep your right arm extended at shoulder height to increase the twist. In order to cultivate the water element in this posture, extend your left arm to shoulder height on your Yoga mat with your palm facing the sky. Keep your legs in Reclining Twist as you bring your right arm up and over your torso. Place your right palm directly on your left palm.
One of the keys to doing this pose correctly is to keep your palms exactly flush with each other. Make sure that the heels of your palms stay lined up with each other. With your next exhale, gently sway backwards towards the center of your mat and feel the stretch all along your arms, upper back and neck. It may only be necessary to move an inch or two in order to receive a good stretch. Continue to gently flow forward and backward with your breath. Imagine you are floating on a surfboard in the ocean as you breath in and out and rock gently back and forth. When you are ready, repeat the entire sequence on the left side and then rest for several minutes in Shavasana.
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