Eye of the needle pose (Sucirandhrasana)
Type : Supine
Justification : Hip Opener
Complimentary Posture : Self Complimentary
Physical Benefits : Stretches, opens and releases tension in outer hips and lower back. Gently lengthens lower back. Reduces back pain. Tones the thighs and buttocks. Improves circulation in the back, hips and legs. Stretches the iliotibial band.
Therapeutic Benefits : increases circulation to the pelvic area, aides in digestion, relieves menstrual cramps, anxiety and stress
Limitations : Avoid if you have knee, hip, lower back or spine injuries. To be avoided for pregnant women after their first trimester.
How To Practice : Lying on your back, legs extended, place your arms along your trunk on the mat, making sure your shoulders are relaxed and away from your ears. Bend the knees, feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Bend right leg and place outside ankle above left knee, foot actively flexed, in order to protect the knee. Exhaling, draw the left knee into chest. Thread your right hand through the space between your legs and clasp both hands around the tibia (only if you can maintain the shoulders on the mat) if not, clasp the back of the left thigh. Release your shoulders towards the mat and lengthen the back and the sacrum towards your heels, keeping the back flat on the mat. Inhale and with the chin slightly tucked into the chest, relax the neck and shoulders. On the exhale simultaneously push the right knee away from the chest with the elbow while trying to bring the left knee closer to the chest. Keep the foot flexed and breathe 4-5 breaths. Release bringing both feet back to the floor. Repeat on the other side.
Tips & Variations : If it’s too difficult to catch the thigh you can use a strap. It is important to keep lengthening the spine along the floor and keep your neck and shoulders relaxed. If you have neck issues or pain, you can put a blanket under your head.
Variation with a Chair : Sit up in chair. Bend right leg and place right ankle just above left knee. Keep the shin bone (tibia) parallel to pelvis and the foot flexed (to protect the knees). Hold for 5 breaths. To intensify the posture fold the trunk over the knees.