Paschimottanasana, Double Leg Forward Stretch: Yoga poses for stretching
Paschimottanasana – With this yoga pose Double Leg Forward Stretch, the back of the body is given an intense stretch as the top half of the body folds over the bottom half. With the head tucked in, this pose offers an opportunity to reconnect deeply with our inner being.
1 Sit in Seated staff posture with palms or fingertips on the floor beside the hips. Tilt the pelvis anteriorly to tip your weight more on to the front of your sitting bones. The sitting bones anchor to the floor as you inhale and float the arms above the head. Let the heart lift and lengthen the spine up toward the crown of the head.
2 On an exhalation, gently draw the lower abdomen in toward the spine as you fold the upper body forward, extending the arms along the legs to hold the big toes or sides of the feet, or grasp one wrist around the balls of the feet.
3 Keeping the chest open, rather than rounding the upper back down, will help free up the breathing. On an inhalation, look forward, lift the heart centre, and move the floating ribs away from the hips and toward the knees. This forward movement originates from the pelvic abdomen and lumbar spine rather than from the head and shoulders.
4 If you reach the feet easily, bend the elbows and exhale farther into into the pose bringing the forehead to the knees. If your chest is not close to the thighs, don’t drop the head but keep the vertebrae of the neck in line with the rest of the vertebral column. Move your shoulders away from your ears.
5 When you reach maximum extension in the pose, stay there breathing deeply for as long as you continue to enjoy the stretch. Keep the backs of the legs in full contact with the floor. Work to maintain the anterior tilt of the pelvis as the spine lengthens forward.
6 Release on an inhalation. Draw the lower abdominal area in toward the spine, raise the arms and chest upward. Lower the arms beside the hips on an exhalation, returning to Seated Staff Posture.
- Keep knees slightly bent to rest the chest on thighs
- Hold thighs or shins rather than feet.
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