[Pose Of the Week] Thread-The-Needle Pose (Beginner)

Feeling some back and shoulder tension? Try Thread-the-Needle Pose for some relief!

Thread-the-Needle Pose (Parsva Balasana) is a great therapeutic stretch for the upper back and shoulders, and it’s especially wonderful for those of us who spend most of the day sitting in front of a computer, which tends to lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain and tension. It might look a little difficult to get into, but it’s actually rather gentle, and definitely worth learning if you suffer from back pain or stiffness.

Thread-the-Needle Pose is a beginner-level yoga pose that stretches the neck, shoulders, chest, arms, and upper back – particularly the area between the shoulder blades. It also offers a gentle twist to the spine, stretching the para-spinal muscles that run the entire length of the back. There are a number of variations to this pose, and depending on which variation you choose, it can also provide a nice stretch for the hips, thighs, and lower back as well.

If you have a recent or chronic injury to your knees, shoulders, or neck, you may want to avoid this pose, and those with chronic back injuries or disk problems should perform this pose only under the direction of an experienced yoga instructor or physical therapist.

Here is how to perform this pose:

Modifications & Variations

To modify this pose for comfort and safety – or for a deeper stretch, you can try the following:

  • If your knee caps hurt, fold your mat or place a firm blanket under your knees.
  • If your wrists hurt in the starting position, place your forearms on the floor, instead.
  • Place your forearms on a bolster or stack of firm blankets to lift your torso more upright. This variation is especially useful for women who are pregnant. Rest your ear on the bolster and let your “threaded” arm drop toward the floor.
  • Those with larger chests or stomachs, and women who are pregnant, can also practice this pose at a wall, while standing:
    1. Face the wall, standing an arm’s distance away. Press your palms flat against the wall.
    2. Slide your right arm beneath your left arm, and bring your right shoulder and ear to the wall. You may need to step closer to the wall to do this.
    3. Hold for up to one minute, and then repeat on the opposite side.
  • For a deeper full-body stretch, come into the position from Child’s Pose (Balasana):
    1. Begin in Table Pose. Spread your knees wide apart and drop your hips back toward your heels.
    2. Bow forward and drape your torso between your thighs. Your heart and chest should rest between or on top of your thighs. Allow your forehead to come to the floor. This is Child’s Pose.
    3. Keep your arms long and extended, palms facing down. Then slide your right arm beneath your left arm, keeping your palm facing up. Turn your head so you gaze to the left. Relax your entire body. Hold for up to one minute. Return to Child’s Pose, and then repeat on the opposite side.
Learn more about Thread-the-Needle Pose at YogaOutlet.com


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