Mistakes to avoid

• Bending the legs: The legs should remain straight throughout the entire practice. It is easy to touch the head to the knees if the legs are bent; even a person with the stiffest back can do it. But one will gain little benefit, for the back and leg muscles will remain as stiff as ever even if you practise for ten years. So keep your legs straight even though it may be difficult.

• Tensing the back and leg muscles: The back and leg muscles should remain passive throughout the practice (except in stage 4). Often people tense their back and leg muscles in an effort to increase the forward bend. This is defeating the object, for this muscular effort makes the back stiffer and reduces the amount that the body can bend forwards. Let the muscles relax; they will slowly elongate and become more flexible.

• Jerking: Every movement should be done slowly and smoothly without sudden jerks.

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