Tag Archives: parivrtta trikonasana

Jupiter’s South Pole…the great mandala

This image just came back from the NASA satellite Juno launched in 2011 to explore Jupiter. When I was a kid, I was fascinated with Jupiter from the Voyager missions. It is such a turbulent planet with a toxic gaseous atmosphere and a great storm with winds up to 400 miles per hour. Jupiter’s beauty lies in its turbulence.

It also has many moons among which is Io, a volcanic moon which is a pure firework spouting sulfur hundreds of kilometers into space. That makes it visible from Earth, as Galileo discovered it in the 1600s from the crude astronomical instruments at the time.



I am part of a Hubble Image discussion group on Facebook on which there are serious astronomers. I am just there because I like to see the images from the universe. One scientist in the group commented that he does not like people referencing the spiritual or God when commenting on these images. To me, one can simultaneously be scientifically minded and still view the wonders of the universe as spiritual experience. In fact one who can’t do both is quite limited in my opinion.

As one gets into their yoga practice for several years, one starts to see that they are not separate from anything. The Upanisads say that Brahman is everywhere in the universe. When I see these images, I feel a deep connection, as though I am a part of them in the farthest reaches of the galaxy. The galaxy is full of wonder. Not only with its contents, but with its sheer vastness. The opening mantra of the Isa Upanishad talks about how all is infinite and perfect, and that we are very much a part of that infinity and perfection.

Carl Jung theorized about the archetypes, or images that recur throughout all of humanity. One he was particularly fascinated with was the mandala. One can see forms of mandalas in all religions. From the stained glass at in the Chartres Cathedral, to the dancing pattern in Sufi’s whirling dervishes, to Tibetan sand forms. When one sees the underside of Jupiter, one sees all of these and more.

Each ring in the photograph represents a different “belt” of clouds. Very much like the Earth’s tropics above and below the equator, these belts represent a different direction in which the weather patterns move. When we do twisting asanas like parivrtta trikonasana, our bodies take on this very same phenomenon with different fluids and gases of the body moving in spiraling patterns. When we do pranayama, the air enters our system and heats up immediately. This causes “storms” in our different bodily region and regulates our prana. When done correctly, the weather in our body is harmonious. When done improperly, like Jupiter, our nervous system becomes turbulent. We are not different than the universe. The universe is not different from us.




Listening to your wrists


We text, type, scroll and sign our name more than any time in human history. Our wrists and hands are paying the price. Before it would be rare to have someone with carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms in yoga class, now it’s rare that you don’t find someone with those symptoms. Clutching cell phones for hours wreaks havoc on the tiny wrist joint.

During the recent Laurie Blakeney workshop, she did a few poses with a nice wrist emphasis to counteract these symptoms. I cannot recreate the sequence, but I have adapted a few of her techniques to my home practice I would like to share.

Basic wrist action in Adho Mukha Svanasana prep on hands and knees. Notice angled blocks at the wall to decrease the angle and strain on wrists.

Wrist 1


Move shoulders and torso forward to decrease the angle if wrists are too intensified.


Wrist 2

Utthita Trikonasna with hand facing backwards. Make sure the whole surface of the hand is on the block.

Wrist 3


Parivritta Trikonasana with hand backwards.

Wrist 4


Padahastasana. This puts weight onto the whole hand. You can do with bent knees if you cannot reach this far.


Bharadvajasana I with wrist emphasis. My back hand is on my hip.


Wrist 5

Paschima Namaskar

paschima namaskar

After Paschima Namaskar the wrists feel tight, DO NOT shake your hands! Blakeney warned that the tiny bones in the hands can loosen from a violent shake after maintaining it in a fixed position. Do padahastasana instead.

As a side benefit, the shoulders also feel enlivened after trying these poses because of the amplified rotation caused by the hand position. This should help with your wrist-sues!