Seated Forward Bend Pose (Figure 2.36) is a good pose for calming anxiety. As the head reaches over the legs and the back lengthens, the mind and body are calmed. If your child is anxious or stressed, Seated Forward Bend Pose may provide an almost immediate sensation of calmness and tranquility.
This pose, although it looks like merely bending forward over the legs, may feel intense. The hamstrings and calves stretch. The back and shoulders also stretch as the body lowers over the legs.
This pose does not require excess strength or flexibility and may be modified as described below. Children with ASDs often do not like this pose at first. They think that the pose should be easy, because it looks like the person is just bending forward. However, the pose stretches all muscles from the feet to the top of the head. In addition, most people simply do not bend down and touch their toes regularly.
We suggest that you tell your child that he will probably feel many muscles stretching. He will also discover muscles that he may not know he even had. You can also have him notice that although the pose seems like only the legs should be stretching, the spine and back muscles are also stretching. We also suggest that you tell him that he should not force the pose. Rather, he needs to stop when he feels something in his body tense. At that point, he should take a deep breath. If, after this breath, he can move further, he should try to do so.
We usually explain to children that the goal of this pose is not to touch their toes, but to experience the pose. It is also suggested that you tell your child that although many people want to be the fastest and the best, yoga stresses getting to know yourself and your body. You are not in competition with anyone, not even yourself.
1. Come into a seated position at the back of your mat and stretch your legs out in front of you. Your legs may be relaxed, but should not flop out to the sides. The feet should be straight forward with a slight flex.
2. Bring in the abdomen slightly to help support your torso lift and lengthen upward.
3. Bring your arms over your head and gradually bend forward over your legs. Go as far down on your legs as possible. In time, as flexibility increases, you may be able to reach and clasp your feet.
4. Initially, you may modify the pose by only reaching your hands to your knees or shins (Figure 2.37).
5. At whatever place you have reached your hands, bring your chest up, and take a breath before you bend over into the forward bend. This breath will help you to remember to lengthen your body out toward the front wall, instead ofrounding your chest into your body. The idea is to stretch out your spine and shoulders, as opposed to pulling your head down into your legs.
6. Now, lower your torso into a bend over your legs. Stay where you feel the stretch, but do not force the stretch. The stretch will increase in time. Think about breathing into your upper back and shoulders, to allow these areas to stretch further over the legs.
7. Take five breaths in this position. Think about relaxing your upper body onto your legs. When you are finished with the pose, slowly come up to a seated position.
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This guide Don't Panic has tips and additional information on what you should do when you are experiencing an anxiety or panic attack. With so much going on in the world today with taking care of your family, working full time, dealing with office politics and other things, you could experience a serious meltdown. All of these things could at one point cause you to stress out and snap.