Standing Forward Bend Poses help to bring flexibility to the hamstrings. These poses also open the hips and stretch out the back. Two versions of Standing Forward Bend Pose may be practiced. Both versions have the same leg stance. However, the arm position is different to give the body a slightly different stretch in each pose. Both poses will strengthen the legs. Additionally, the neck will be stretched and relaxed.
Your child may have difficulty with the concept that his head will be hanging upside down. He may not like the perspective that he gets when he opens his eyes and looks around while his head is hanging between his legs. You may explain that this is a safe way to move his body and that hanging his head upside down is beneficial for his brain. The body supplies extra blood and oxygen to the brain when the head is positioned in this way.
In addition, your child can be told that it is good to allow the neck a few moments of relaxation in this pose, because the neck is usually not able to fully relax. It is to be hoped that he will understand the benefits of this pose and will accept the feeling of his head hanging upside down. You may explain that it is good to see the world in a different way and from a different perspective at times, and that this pose can remind him that seeing things upside down sometimes is both fun and necessary.
STANDING FORWARD BEND POSE A (FIGURE 2.27)
1. Turn sideways on your mat and spread your feet about three feet apart. Feet should be parallel and the feet should be pressing into the mat.
2. Firm your thighs and reach your arms out to the sides to shoulder height. Take a deep breath and feel your chest expand.
3. Slowly bend forward from the waist and place your hands flat on the ground directly under your shoulders. Let your head hang freely. Do not tense the neck or look forward.
4. If possible, bend your elbows to get a deeper stretch in the legs. If you cannot bend your elbows, keep your arms straight and take several deep breaths.
5. If you cannot reach the floor, you may rest your hands on a stool until your flexibility increases.
6. As an additional modification, if you are still uncomfortable or feel anxious in this pose, bring your feet further together so there is less ofa stretch in the legs. In addition, if your child does not feel stable, you can support his torso with your hands until he feels strong enough to stand independently.
7. Using the strength in your abdominals and back, keep the spine as straight as possible, and come up to a standing position.
STANDING FORWARD BEND POSE B (FIGURE 2.28)
1. After finishing in Standing Forward Bend A, keep the same leg stance and spread your arms out to the side at shoulder height. Take a deep breath and feel your chest expand.
2. Firm your thighs so you feel steady and place your hands on your hips.
3. Begin to bend slowly forward from the waist, keeping your hands on your hips.
4. When you have bent as far as possible for you, relax your neck and take three deep breaths. It is best if you keep your abdomen firm to provide support for the torso. You should feel your legs working strongly, while your upper body remains relaxed.
5. As a modification, you can keep the legs closer together. In addition, as in Standing Forward Bend A, you can support your child's torso until he feels stable.
6. When you are finished with your breaths, press your feet strongly into the ground and come up to a standing position.
7. Spread your arms out to the side one last time, take a breath, and then come into Mountain Pose at the front of your mat.
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