The Noose pose, or Pasasana, is a twister. It challenges our faith in what the body can, and should, be able to do. The pose stretches and twists the upper body, and demands a stable foundation.
Our sense of balance is challenged when we have to squat and twist at the same time, not to mention hug the arms around the shins and the body. Can you say pretzel?
This is an advanced pose, but it comes with various versions which are easy to start with. Warm up before trying this deep twist, and exercise patience. Rare are the folks who can nail this during their first year of asana practice.
Benefits of Pasasana
Pasasana is a great stretch for the spine. It relieves tension in the upper back and shoulders. The hips and ankles are strengthened due to the squatting position of the legs. The pose also improves digestion and elimination, and increases blood circulation.
Steps for the Full Pose
- Start by establishing a stable position with your feet. Stand in Tadasana with your feet together. Ground the feet and focus on having all the corners of the feet active. You can bring your weight from side to side to activate the feet and to find your central point.
- Bend your knees and come to a squat, bringing your buttocks to your heels. If your heels are not touching the ground, you can place a blanket under the heels to give you a boost of support and stability.
- Take your knees slightly towards the right, and with an exhale twist your torso towards the left. Your upper body stays touching the left thigh.
- Bring your right arm up, and place it on the outer side of the left shin.
- Turning your right palm towards the floor, wrap the arm around the shins.
- Take your left arm, and bring it around your back, taking a hold of the right hand.
- Twist your upper body further towards the left by using the right arm as support for your twist, turning your head towards the left.
- Bring your shoulder blades towards the spine.
- Stay for 3-4 breaths at first, and slowly release the twist with an exhale.
Tips and Modifications
- You can start to practice this pose against the wall. Come to Tadasana by standing a few inches from a wall. Bend down into a full squat with your heels on the ground or on a folded blanket. Bring your knees slightly away from the direction of the wall, twist your torso towards the wall and press both of your hands on the wall next to you. Keep your upper body close to your thighs, and twist gently using the wall as a support.
- You can also do the full pose with both of your arms behind your back, instead of one wrapped around your shins.
- If you are almost there with your hands, use a belt to give you the extra space you need.
Avoid this pose if you have knee injuries, or lower back injuries such as herniated discs. Always exercise patience and kindness, and respect the body. Don't push yourself!