Great Wall

In this variation (see figure 2), a wall supports your buttocks, which will help shift some of your weight into your heels while you reach forward. To begin, stand with your feet approximately six inches away from a wall, and your sacrum against it. Bend your knees and slide your buttocks down the wall until you're squatting. If your heels don't reach the floor, step your feet a little farther away from the wall. If you find that your buttocks touch the floor, come a little closer to the wall. As in the previous variation of the pose, your heels should just barely touch the floor so that you can balance the forward extension ofyour torso and toes with the backward and downward stretch of your heels. Keeping the feet together, spread your knees apart, press your heels down, and stretch them back toward the wall.

With the bottom of your sacrum resting against the wall, extend your arms, side ribs, and waist between your legs and away from the wall. Reach forward from the bottom of your waist to your hands, and extend your arms and chest parallel to the floor. Notice that the more you reach forward with your torso, the more you have to ground your heels back and down. Keep your inner heels down so that the weight doesn't fall onto the outside edge ofyour foot. For this variation, look down at the floor.

Your knees, of course, separate in a squat, but don't spread your legs so wide that they lose contact with your torso. Move your inner thighs back and down toward your hip sockets while you bring your outer thighs forward and up toward your knees. Lift the front of your shins while you lengthen the back ofyour calves down. Playing on the edge of sitting and extending, explore the rhythm of balancing the forward stretch ofyour torso with the rooting of your thighs into your hip sockets as you ground your heels. Similarly, see if you can balance the effort in your inner and outer thighs and the front and back of your lower legs so that you're not working one area more than another.

You can stay here for 30 to 60 seconds before coming out. When you're ready, take your hands to the wall, keep your head down as you lift your hips up toward the ceiling, and straighten your legs to come into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend). Stay there for a few breaths.

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