Head-to-Knee Pose (Figure 2.40) is variation of the Seated Forward Bend Pose, in that the torso is being lowered over the leg. This pose will help to calm your child and alleviate tension. It also helps the spine elongate over the straight leg. It provides a slight spinal twist on both sides ofthe spine, depending on which leg is outstretched. Again, your child should only lower down over the leg as far as is comfortable.
The chest should be lengthened out towards the shin and foot, as opposed to folding in toward the knee. The bent leg may be bent in close to the thigh. A modification may be made by bending the leg to the other knee, as opposed to the thigh (Figure 2.41).
Because this pose is another version of forward bending, you may point out the idea oflistening to your body and taking care ofyour body that was mentioned in the above two poses. The bent leg in this pose may cause some difficulty, many children often cannot bend forward as much as they think they should. We suggest that you remind your child to listen to his body and not force the stretch.
Often, the most difficult part of the yoga practice is to have the mind release all expectations about what should be and merely allow the body to let the poses happen. This concept is difficult to explain to children and others who are used to wanting to control their environment. Forward bending is a good introduction to the idea that to be comfortable in our body, you must allow your body to unfold on its own and not try to force your mind to rule your body.
1. Sit on the back of your mat and extend your legs out in front of you.
2. Slowly bend your right knee until your right heel is pressing into your left thigh. Your right heel should press firmly into your left thigh. Ifthis is not comfortable, press your right heel lower onto your left thigh or near your left knee.
3. Try to keep both hips on the floor, to allow for some hip opening and to keep your balance.
4. Raise your arms over your head and stretch both arms toward the sky.
5. Slowly lower your outstretched arms over your right leg as far as possible.
6. Keep your chest and head reaching toward your right foot to lengthen the torso.
7. When you have determined how far you may comfortably stretch, place your arms, palms, or forearms on either side of your outstretched leg.
8. Hold this pose for three breaths. Try to feel your spine lengthening and your upper body both relaxing and stretching into the ground.
9. Slowly bring your torso up and sit upright. Put your legs out in front of you. Do the pose on the other side.
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