Thread the Needle pose releases tension in the shoulders and neck, opens up the scapular muscles and rotates the vertebrae in the upper back. These are key areas to target in people with Parkinson’s. They are also common areas of rigidity in others with restricted movement.
And when the neck and shoulders are tense, it can be difficult to relax elsewhere and can even trigger tension further down the spine.
The traditional expression of the pose, however, may not be a good match for someone with a movement disorder. Getting down to the mat to start in table position, for example, can be a challenge for some. In addition, balance becomes precarious after releasing one hand from the mat.
Modified, this pose offers the benefits of the full pose but from a more stable base position.
This first variation to Thread the Needle pose begins in a Tadasana, Mountain pose. Place your mat perpendicular to a wall or place a chair on one end of the mat with the seat facing away from you. (Make sure that all four legs of the chair are on the mat. This prevents the chair from slipping.) Step close to the wall or chair back.
This second variation is a seated version of Thread the Needle pose. Place your mat perpendicular to a wall, your chair on the mat, just under your arm’s distance away. The chair seat faces the wall.*
*This variation can also be done facing another chair rather than a wall. The other chair back faces you and you can place your hands on the chair back.
An additional benefit of this pose, particularly to stroke recovery individuals, is the extension of each arm diagonally across the body. This crossing of the mid-line of the body can be therapeutic to
retraining the sense of where are limbs are space around them.
These variations also do not drop the head below the heart, which allows people with autonomic nervous system issues, glaucoma, or high blood pressure the opportunity to benefit from Thread the Needle pose.
Enjoy the release it brings outside and the peace it brings inside.