To move into Seated Forward Fold, Paschimottanasana: come to a seat. Option to sit on a block or blanket if the hamstrings are very tight. Extend the legs out in front of you. Bring awareness to the sitting bones or to the bony protrusions under your seat. Bring the palms to the ground behind the back to find neutrality on the sitting bones, gently shift the weight forward and back to find a neutral seat.
On an inhale breath, raise the hands over the head, bringing the pinkies to face one another. Grow the crown of the head more towards the ceiling. Sit tall and erect with the spine. On an exhale breath, keep the hands over the head and maintain the height that you’ve created with the inhale. On an exhale breath, flex the toes towards the face. Press the thighs downward and draw the low belly in towards the spine.
Take an inhale breath to lengthen the spine even more. Exhale, and fold forward from the hips allowing the palms to fall to the thighs, ankles or maybe even the feet. If the palms reach the feet without rounding the spine, option to grab the outside edges of the feet of wrap your two peace fingers around the big toes, while resting the palms on the feet. Option to use a strap if the hamstrings are tight and the back seems to “round” more than lengthen towards the feet.
If you are using a strap, wrap the strap around the soles of the feet. Hold the strap firmly with both palms and sit tall. Inhale and grow taller, creating more length in the spine and in order to prepare. On an exhale, begin to fold-forward from the hips. Option to walk the palms up the strap as you fold in order to go deeper. Find comfort in the pose while maintaining the alignment and length in the spine and where you can still comfortably breathe.
On an inhale, take a “half-way” lift and lift through the chest drawing the heart space or the sternum forward and broadening through the chest. On an exhale breath, fold forward with a flat back, reaching the heart forward towards the feet.
Allow the chin to drop towards the chest in order to bring length to the back of the neck and in order to create a semi-throat lock. Keep breathing and focus on the breath while drawing the shoulders down the back and while drawing the low-belly in towards the spine.
Draw the thighs downward towards the ground. Lengthen more from the front line of the body, allowing the front rib-cage to extend towards the knees and feet. Stay here and breath for 3-5 full-rounds of breath (one-inhale and one-exhale equals one round of breath). Draw the pelvic area up and in and draw the low-belly in to protect the low-back.
To come out: gently come back up on an inhale breath and with a flat back.
Option to move into Supta Baddha Konasana or Reclined Bound Cobbler's Pose in order to allow the low-back to release and relax.
|Reclined Bound Cobbler's Pose|
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga
Christi Iacono is a certified yoga teacher, at the 500 hour level, and she is the owner of In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mounts streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve their body. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.