Eye of the Needle
To enter Eye of the Needle pose, lie on the back with the soles of the feet on the mat and the knees pointing to the sky. Press the lower back into the mat and lower the shoulders so they are relaxed and away from the ears. The arms are on the mat alongside the body.
Lift the right leg and place the right ankle on the left thigh. Inhale and exhale here. Inhale again and when exhaling, lift the right leg, and bring the left knee toward the chest. Reach the right arm in between the legs and the left arm on the outside of the left leg and clasp the hands behind the thigh. Flex the feet and hold.
To exit the pose, release the hands and slowly bring the left foot to the floor. Bring the right foot to the floor and return to the starting position.
Repeat on the left side.
Visualize the muscles in the outer hip releasing. With every exhale, focus on those muscles and imagine them loosening.
The feet should be flexed to add support to the spine. There will be a tendency for the body to lean in the direction of the leg that is crossed over to the other leg. Consciously try to center the body on the spine.
- Stretches and opens hips
- Stretches lower back
- Reduces back pain
- Stretches the iliotibial (IT) band
WATCH OUT FOR
- Tightness in hips that prevents reaching through the legs.
- Neck pain
- Injury to knees or lower back
- Hip, knee or lower back pain
- Disc injuries
- For beginners with tight hips, keep one foot on the ground. Slightly press the knee of the leg that is crossed over, but stop if there is discomfort.
- Place a blanket under the head and neck if discomfort occurs.
- Use a strap around the thigh of the bottom leg.
- Practice Eye of the Needle against a wall. Enter the pose as described above, but place the sole of the foot of the bottom leg flat against the wall.
- Lift the bottom leg straight up instead of pulling it toward the chest.
- Pigeon pose.
YOGA COUNTER POSES
- Windshield wipers
- Knee circles
Written By: Kristen Porter
Kristen Porter is a Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher, studio owner (www.ovcyoga.com)