• Sit with the legs outstretched in front of you in Staff Pose (Dandasana).
• Bend your right knee and place the right foot against the left inner thigh, relaxing the knee down.
• As you inhale, flex the left ankle, press the top of the thigh down, lengthen the spine and raise your arms either side of your head.
• Rotate your upper body slightly so you are facing the left leg and then fold forward from the hips as you exhale.
• Keep your spine long, chest open and shoulders relaxed.
• Place your hands down, framing your left leg, or take hold of your ankle or foot.
• Stay for 5 to 10 breaths.
• Inhale, as you come out of the pose.
Beginners tips • If you find it difficult to tilt the pelvis forward, sit up on a low yoga block, firm folded blanket, or cushion. Work on maintaining length in your spine, sitting upright rather than folding forward.
• Try using a strap around the ball of your foot to keep your spine long while folding forward. Just don’t pull it forcefully.
• Bend your knee as much as you need to fold from the hips.
• Releases the hips, back body and groin.
• Calms the mind.
• Stimulates digestion.
• May relieve menstrual discomfort.
Watch out for...
• Be careful not to pull yourself forcefully into the forward bend (especially if you are using a strap). This will hunch the back and shorten the front of the body. • If the back extended knee feels uncomfortable, bend it slightly and place a blanket underneath. • Skip this pose if you have any lower back pain.
• If your hands come past your foot you can take hold of the right wrist with the left hand and bind around the left foot.
• Deepen this pose by widening the angle between the two legs. This happens by bringing the bent knee further back.
• In Yin yoga there's a similar pose called Half-Butterfly. The difference is that in Yin yoga the student relaxes into the pose rather than using gentle muscular effort to nudge into a forward bend. So the back is more rounded and soft and the legs are relaxed. The pose is held for between 3 and 5 minutes in a Yin yoga practice.
Alternative Seated Forward Bend Paschimottanasana
Counterpose Upward Plank Pose Purvottanasana
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