Seated forward bend Pashcimottanasana

The seated forward bend intensely stretches the entire back side of the body, including the back of the spine and legs. It also tones the muscles and organs of the abdomen and creates a calming and quieting effect.

To enjoy these benefits, try the following:

1. Sit on the floor with your legs at hip width and comfortably stretched out in front of you.

Bring your back up nice and tall and place your palms down on the floor near your thighs.

2. As you inhale, raise your arms forward and up overhead until they're beside your ears as shown in Figure 11-10a.

Keep your arms and legs soft and slightly bent in Forgiving Limbs, which we describe in Chapter 3.

3. As you exhale, bend forward from the hips; bring your hands, chest, and head toward your legs.

Rest your hands on the floor, your thighs, knees, shins, or feet. If your head isn't close to your knees, bend your knees more until you feel your back stretching (see Figure 11-10b).

4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 three times and then stay folded (Step 3) for 6 to 8 breaths.

Figure 11-10:

If your head isn't close to your knees, bend your knees more.

Note: In the classic posture, the inner legs are joined, the knees are straight, and the ankles are extended so that the toes point up). The chin rests on the chest, the hands hold the sides of the feet, the back is extended forward, and the forehead is pressed against the legs.

In Sanskrit, pashcimottanasana (pronounced pash-chee-moh-tah-nah-sah-nah) translates to the "extension of the West posture." In yogic jargon, the West refers to the back, and the East stands for the front. The symbolism refers to both the physical and psychological effects of this posture: It stretches the back of the body, especially the back of the spine and legs, and just as the sun sets in the West, the "light" of your consciousness draws inward as you fold upon yourself.

Lessons In Gnagi Yoga

Lessons In Gnagi Yoga

This book is a beautiful explanation of Yogi Philosophy. Everything about Hindu philosophy for the non-Eastern reader. It talks about nature, forces and reason. The Yogi Philosophy and its several branches or fields are presented with great detail.

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