Yo­ga­pe­dia

Prasarita Padot­tanasana Prasarita = Ex­pand/spread out á Pada = Foot á Ut = In­tense Tan = To stretch or ex­tend á Asana = Pose Wide-Legged Stand­ing For­ward Bend

Yoga Journal - - CONTENTS - By Jenny Brill

Go on an align­ment-based jour­ney from Prasarita Padot­tanasana to Salamba Sir­sasana II with teacher Jenny Brill.

BEN­E­FITS Length­ens and strength­ens your ham­strings, calves, feet, and spine; calms your mind and pro­motes in­tro­spec­tion; helps re­lieve headaches

IN­STRUC­TION

1 Stand in the cen­ter of your mat. Stretch your arms straight out to your sides, and wi­den your stance un­til your an­kles are di­rectly be­low your wrists. Check that your feet are par­al­lel and that their outer edges line up with those of your mat. Root your feet firmly into the mat, and dis­trib­ute your weight evenly be­tween your big toes, pinkie toes, in­ner heels, and outer heels.

2 Straighten your legs, and lift your kneecaps to en­gage your thighs. Put your hands on your hips, draw a deep breath in, lift your chest, and start to move your heart for­ward and up. Gen­tly draw your shoul­der blades to­ward each other.

3 On an ex­ha­la­tion, keep your spine long as you main­tain straight, but not hy­per­ex­tended, legs. Con­tinue to lengthen your torso as you be­gin to fold for­ward. (If you feel any strain in your lower back, bend your knees or come out of the pose.)

4 When your torso is about halfway down (par­al­lel to the floor), lower your hands to bring your fin­ger­tips to the mat un­der­neath your shoul­ders. Move your weight slightly for­ward into the balls of your feet.

5 As you con­tinue to lower your torso, root your tail­bone down to­ward your feet, which will en­gage your core mus­cles to sta­bi­lize your lower back. Move your thighs back slightly so that they are more in line with your an­kles. Walk your hands back so your fin­ger­tips are more in line with your toes; press your palms into the mat. Let your neck and head be heavy.

6 Lengthen your torso even more, and bend your el­bows to bring the crown of your head down to even­tu­ally rest on the mat. (If your head is nowhere near the floor, try widen­ing your stance slightly.) En­er­get­i­cally press your hands to the mat, and spread your fin­gers wide. Hold for 10–15 breaths. To come out of the pose, bring your hands to your hips, press your feet firmly into the mat, and, on an in­hala­tion, draw your el­bows to­ward the ceil­ing and your belly in and up as you lift your torso.

DON’T roll to the outer (or in­ner) edges of your feet, and don’t splay your el­bows. Too much weight on your outer (or in­ner) foot could cause strain in your knees or an­kles. Mov­ing your el­bows away from your mid­line can strain your wrists or lead to in­sta­bil­ity.

DON’T let your hips shift back past your heels. This will de­crease the ham­string stretch and may lock your knees, caus­ing strain. It also cre­ates in­sta­bil­ity in the pose and could cause you to lose your bal­ance.

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