Try these modifications for and alternatives to Ardha Parivrtta Agni Utkatasana (Half Rotated Standing Fire Log Pose).
Lift your left leg. Keep it in front of you and externally rotate it. This does not mean taking your leg to the side; it means rotating your leg from the root of the limb. Your leg will still be in front of you and your pelvis will not have moved. Then, bend the lifted leg and place it on your standing thigh. Extend back through your two sitting bones, even though they are not in a symmetrical placement. Then, lift up through your torso and steady your gaze in front of you. Twist to the right and place the back of your left hand or arm in the arch of your right foot. You can gently press the arm and foot into each to discover whether you can twist or open up your chest a little bit more.
Reach your arms away from each other from the roots.
Reach back and down to lengthen your spine.
Feel your two sit bones reaching back evenly. Exhale as you twist Inhale to lengthen.
Its fun to put all the pieces together in a yoga class and work your way into a complex pose. The multilayered aspect of complex poses gives us lots to organize, and that can be a fun challenge. But at the end of the day, yoga is not really about climb- ing a peak or having any kind of peak experience. It is the practice of equanimity and inclusivity. Yoga helps us include all parts of our selfthe parts we dont like so much, the parts we do like, and the parts we havent yet been brave enough to embrace, like our grumpiness, fear, and jealousy. Concentrating too much on how to get into one particular pose can overstretch and overwork certain areas, not to mention it can move us toward craving a particular result from our efforts. Yoga is not the same as a task. It is a long-term project that can last your whole life. It offers a myriad of experiences, many that we could never have predicted. So, instead of going for a peak anything, keep exploring. See how your actions come together to make certain poses, and then notice how that experience dissolves and is over. We are learning the truth of impermanence. Since everything arises and passes, we try to appreciate it in the moment that it is here.
Take Cyndis thoughtful and fun six-week online course, Slow Flow: Sustainable Vinyasa Yoga for Life, at yogajournal.com/slowflow.