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Dru Yoga - Paschimottanasana: the sitting forward bend

The sitting forward bend, is great for releasing back tension as it stretches the hamstrings and lower back muscles. It also stimulates the digestive and reproductive systems by massaging the abdominal area. It activates the kidneys, liver, pancreas and adrenal glands and it can help improve diabetes.

 

yoga-pose-sitting-forward-bendThis posture helps us by calming the nerves, releasing fears and amplifying courage. It also helps bring control over our desire-dominated senses. Paschimottanasana a very powerful asana for spiritual awakening…

 

Contra-indications

It is advisable not to do this posture if you suffer from sciatica or a slipped disc. Please work gently during pregnancy or if you are suffering from any spinal, hip or knee problems. If you know you have short hamstrings, make sure you keep the spine extended and don’t reach further than is comfortable as this will only create tension.

It is really important that when doing this posture that you hinge forward at the hips, stretching up and forward from the lower back area, not just bending forward at the waist. It may help to sit on a cushion to help tilt the pelvis forward slightly. Preparations to help with this posture are some hamstring stretches.

 

How to do this posture?

Step 1 

Sit upright (on a cushion if necessary) with both legs stretched out in front. Place hands on the ground by your hips. Extend spine upwards towards ceiling. With each inhalation feel spine extend, exhale spine relaxes.

Step 2

With your palms facing inwards, breathe in and raise your hands slowly to the heart level, lifting your sternum as you lift the hands to heart level. As the hands come to the heart visualise a soft light at the heart centre.

Step 3 

Rotate the palms to face forward, away from the body and as you exhale gently stretch forward from the base of the spine, extending the arms along your legs as far as is comfortable. You may need to bend your knees here. As the hands are in the furthermost position visualise a soft light flowing from the heart to the crown of the head and down the arms.

Step 4

Breathing in again, turn the palms to face the sides of legs and begin to uncurl the spine from the base, drawing the hands along the sides of the legs and up to the heart level, raising the sternum once again but keeping the shoulders relaxed. As you uncurl the spine visualise the soft light flowing up the legs and back to the heart.

Step 5

Continue with the flowing movements, working with the breath for a few times, creating a soft flowing rhythm of movement and visualisation of light moving through the body, trying to extend the forward bend a little each time but working within the limits of your own body at all times.

Step 6

For the final forward bend, once you have placed the hands at the furthermost point, extend the arms so that the palms are flat on the floor and your forehead lowers gently towards the legs. Relax in this position breathing gently. Then in your own time, uncurl gently to an upright sitting position, resting your hands on your legs for a few moments, enjoying the energy and stillness of the posture.

The key intention of this posture is to replenish your energy by letting go of painful emotions. Literally translated this is ‘the west-facing posture’ and like the setting sun, it soothes and calms your mind and emotions. As your back stretches forward, old habits patterns are released, losing their hold on you so that your natural intuitive senses can unfold. Experience the wonderful energy this posture brings.

 

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