Twisting and turning your body, leaning over backward, balancing on one leg and extending your other leg to its maximum flexibility over your head is a combination that only the bravest will try on their quest to exorcise their deepest, darkest demons.
This challenging progression from Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana (Compass Pose) and a creepily distorted variation of Kala Bhairavasana (Pose Dedicated to Shiva the Destroyer), Exorcist Pose is a terrifyingly bendy, twisty posture that literally makes you look like you’ve just stepped out of a horror film.
The perfect contortionist move to display at your Halloween party to send all your guests cowering in fear, this challenging posture is both scary and fun, just like your favorite October holiday!
Follow these three steps to purge your own inner demons in Exorcist Pose:
1. Squat Down to Your Grave
Start in Malasana, or a low yogic squat, with your feet very wide apart from each other and your heels turning in and your toes turning out ever so slightly.
Bend deeply into your knees and sink your hips low toward the floor. Lengthen your spine and actually release your sit bones down to the ground so that you’re sitting and making contact with the earth in this squatting position.
2. Bleed Open Your Heart
As a natural progression from Compass Pose, the most straightforward way to enter Exorcist Pose is of course, still from Compass (or at least a variation of it).
Release your right palm to the floor on the big toe side of your right foot. Peel your heart open toward the left as you start to twist your torso in that same direction. Ground down into your left foot and your right hand and take a hold of the pinky side of your right foot with your left hand.
Use your left hand to help you work your right foot up off the floor and to sling and slide your knee over your right shoulder. Keep rotating through your torso and peeling your chest toward the left while you simultaneously extend your right leg straight up toward the sky. Hug your right thigh in against your right shoulder, strongly activating your adductor muscle group to keep that leg glued to your torso.
3. Exorcise Your Demons
From this Compass variation, ground your right hand firmly down into the ground and continue to peel your chest open, spiraling your torso toward the left. Maintain your right leg hugging in firmly toward your right shoulder.
While keeping this action, release your grip on your right foot and ground your left palm to the floor on the outside of your left foot, about shoulder-width apart from your right hand with all of your fingertips pointing toward your left foot. Walk your left foot forward slightly until your knee is aligned directly over your ankle, so that you make the shape of a very distorted reverse tabletop position.
Keep extending out through your right leg, opening through your heart and press the floor away from you to lift your hips even higher toward the sky.
If you want to get super crazy and creepy here, you can take a bit of Lion’s Breath, crossing your eyes and sticking your tongue out to really let go of your inner demons (and scare everyone else half to death!). Be sure to repeat the whole process on the opposite side to expel all the evil demons lurking within.
Play around with this fun variation on two very classic poses. Frighten your friends with your creepiest costume and most distorted body movements. Have fun and, in the true spirit of yoga, let go of anything that is no longer serving you (read: exorcise all of your dark, gloomy demons out!).