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Bend, Don’t Break with Swaying Palm Tree Pose

Swaying Palm Tree pose, known in Sanskrit as either Tiryaka Tadasana or Tiryaka Tala-Vrikshasana, is a standing side bend appropriate for all levels of yoga practice. It can be a gentle lean from side-to-side as an opener to promote length along the sides of the body or it can be modified for a intense side-bending-not-breaking peak pose.

The least-intense version is popular in pre-natal classes, as it stretches the sides of the waist without putting undue pressure on the rectus abdominus. As it develops physical and mental balance, it also increases blood circulation throughout the body, which can have an energizing effect. After all, it is a lot like the natural stretch many take upon rising from bed in the morning.

How to Perform Swaying Palm Tree Pose:

  • From Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, step the feet a little more than hip-width apart with the feet parallel and toes pointing forward.
  • Engage the mula bandha and uddhiyana bandhas. This is similar to stopping the stream of urine while drawing the navel in and up toward the spine.
  • On an inhale, extend the arms straight out to the sides as you broaden the collarbone.
  • On an exhale, bend laterally at the waist. The arms can come overhead, or you may opt to bring the hand on the bent side to the outer thigh or shin with the other arm extended over the nearest ear.
  • Return to Tadasana on an exhale, and repeat on the opposite side.

Modifications:

  • For shoulder issues or persistent fatigue, leave the arms by the sides of the body.
  • To deepen the Swaying Palm Tree pose, rotate the chest and gaze upward.

Variations:

  • For an additional calf stretch, come up onto the toes.
  • Play with arm positions – Garudasana or Gomukhasana arms add a shoulder stretch into the mix.

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