Week 153: Sanskrit Stumber
This pesky low back pain has finally given me some relief this week. I’ve been super conscious with releasing the lateral left body but boy, I’m shocked how tight it is. What caused this - who knows!
I was delighted to practice another Do Yoga With Me session this week and it supported the gentle pace I so needed. I was instructed to complete many of the "regular poses” I do but in an unique way with a new teacher, Nicky. “Old” poses turned new with her gentle self-love approach.
One pose that stood out this week was belly twist (Jathara Parivrtti), which I’ve done many times over the years. But to be honest, this pose seems to get played as second fiddle. I rarely take the time to really think about this pose. For whatever reason, Nicky’s cues made me more aware of this pose and how I haven’t really explored it in much detail.
I didn’t really know the pose’s proper name. Initially, when I slotted into Google what I thought it was called, it initially spit back "supine/reclined spinal twist" or Supta Matsyendrasana. If one didn’t look closely at all the images of the pose, one would think this was the one I was looking for.
Yet, it wasn’t.
Supine spinal twist requires more twisting action at the lumbar spine as the top leg is only bent and is placed over the bottom straight leg as you twist. The pose I was looking for had two flexed knees and hips stacked one on top of the other, yet the action was similar in nature.
After having trouble finding the pose’s real name. I got confused (ok - I’m still confused) on the actual Sanskrit name. In one place it is listed as Jathara Parivrtti and in another it is Jathara Parivartanasana. After a further look, I realized the second sanskrit word is similar but different. “Parivrtti” meaning “turning, rolling” versus “parivartana" meaning “turning round, revolving”. I have no answer to this one other than the two words are slight variations on each other and mean essentially the same thing.
With all my sanskrit searching this week. I did learn something new, which wasn’t confusing to me!
“Supta” can be used as a noun or adjective meaning “to lay down”. Hence, Supta Matsyendrasana is a supine twist. Matsyendra means “king of fish”. I have no idea how that factors in other than in my readings this week I found that this pose was developed by a renowned teacher of yoga, Sage Matsyenda.
“Ardha” means “half”. So the seated version, Ardha Matsyendrasana is considered half lord of the fishes (fish?)
Okay. Maybe I don’t totally understand Sanskrit yet!
Alas, belly twist as it was, was the perfect asana to release my achey back and melt myself into the floor. The passive lengthening of the obliques, intercostals, transversopinalis and parts of the erector spinae was a reprieve from all the upright work these tense muscles have been dealing with lately.
Boy, I need more time (and understanding) of the unique language of yoga.
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Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.