Seated Forward Bend / Paschimottanasana
Step by step
- From Dandasana, sitting with your legs outstretched in front of you and your feet flexed. If you cannot sit with a straight back it means you have to sit on a block or folded blanket.
- On an inhalation lengthen your spine, gently pressing your sitting bones into the floor (or block) and backward. Slightly arch your lower back forward towards your belly. Your hands are next to the hips on the floor, press into your hands to help elongate your spine .
- Pull up the thighs and then let the top of the thighs descend to the floor.
- Keeping the front of the body open and long, on an exhalation you gently begin to fold forward hinging from the hips, not bending in the back.
- Keep length from the pubic bone till the breastbone, moving first your belly, than your ribcage, chest, than your forehead towards the legs.
- Let your arms slide down along the floor, if you can, hold the feet, wrapping your 1st two fingers and thumbs around the big toes. If you can bend your elbows, keep them lifting away from the floor out to the sides and keep your shoulders away from the ears. If you can’t hold your feet, loop a strap around the soles of the feet holding the strap with both hands, keep arms straight.
- To go deeper into this pose, with every inbreath you remind yourself of the length along the front of the torso, lifting your head slightly, on an outbreath you see if you can fold deeper into the pose, still with a long spine hinging from the hips. Keeping your neck in line with your spine. If you hold a strap, just walk your hands slowly in as you go deeper, straight arms.
- Stretches the spine, hamstrings, shoulders
- Calms the mind, prepares you for meditation
- Relieves mild depression
- Stimulates internal organs
- Good for digestion
- Therapeutic for high blood pressure, insomnia and sinusitis