Posted by: eveyoga | January 9, 2011

Paschimottanasana

Sometimes yoga poses need to be flirted with for quite some time before coming anywhere near forming a relationship with them. Not that you are being frivolous but you just don’t want to get in too deeply at first; an oblique approach works well, rather than a full frontal attack.

This is a particularly useful philosophy for paschimottanasana, the double-legged forward stretch, especially when you are in the getting-to-know-you phase. And, this beginner-ish period could go on for some months or years depending on your anatomy or various tightnesses. Sooner or later, you will figure out how to get it together with the pose, and it has a lot to do with awareness, not will power.

Here’s how to make paschimottanasana user-friendly:

Use a belt, sit up on a folded blanket or two, if you want create a more easeful position. Or, even have your feet placed about a foot apart.

Then, stretch your legs out straight in front of you.

Place the belt over the balls of your feet, holding it with both hands. Pull back a little on the belt and sit up straight.

Begin to work your hands up the belt a little further and extend your trunk outwards, not down. Only consider moving your hands closer to your feet if your spine is not bowing.

Lift the front of your chest up, and move your shoulders and the back of your chest down towards your buttocks. Keep your legs straight and the inside of your legs and knees rotating inward.

Tuck your chin in slightly to extend the back of your neck.

If you are supple, you may be able to hold the sides of your feet, or even

catch hold of your wrist behind the soles of your feet.

Stay in the pose for 1-3 minutes, as long as you are breathing evenly. Then, release.

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