WIDE-LEGGED FORWARD BEND (Prasarita Padottanasana)

   

Contra-indications: Lower-back problems - avoid the full forward bend.

How to perform: Step your feet apart as wide as possible keeping them parallel. Place your hands on your hips. Engage the thigh muscles by drawing your kneecaps up. Inhale and stretch your chest up with a lifted sternum. Exhale and, keeping the spine extended, fold forward from the hips (not from the waist). Release your arms down to the floor or reach for your ankles or lower shins and grasp them with your hands. Fold at the hips so that your spine draws downward and is as perpendicular to the ground as possible. If possible rest the crown of your head on the floor. You can put a block or bolster underneath your head if it doesn't yet reach. Remain in the position for 6 - 12 breaths, breathing deeply and evenly. To come out of the pose, rest your hands on your hips, and with an inhalation, slowly roll your back up, and walk your feet back together.

Do not round your back - to keep long spine emphasize the length of the front torso.

Do keep straight active legs with lifted kneecaps and parallel feet.

What if... I am not able to bring my hands to the floor? To protect your lower back from strain, try raising your hands off the floor by resting each on the end of a block.

Benefits: Strengthens and stretches the inner and back legs, as well as the spine. Relieves mild backache. Tones the abdominal organs. Calms the brain.

  
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