SPOTLIGHT ON: WIDE LEG FORWARD BEND
I’d love to introduce you to one of my love-hate poses. Prasarita Padottanasana. Wide legged standing forward bend. Why love-hate? Well, having had two hamstring injuries this pose has been challenging and frustrating. Also, it’s taken a while to work my way down to the ground. But I love it, it’s strong yet passive and restorative at the same time.
So, here is a how-to – it’s a great one to do at home.
- On your way, step the feet out wider (wider to begin with and over time you can inch the feet in closer)
- Make sure your heels are in line (use the back edge of your mat)
- Ensure toes are pointed in and heels are out
- Bring your hands to the waist.
- Lengthen the tail bone and draw the lower belly in.
- Inhale and open the chest towards the ceiling – look up.
- As you exhale, draw the lower belly in and begin to hinge/fold at the waist. Try not to round the spine, but lengthen forward, out and down.
- Bring the hands to the floor (use books or blocks if you can’t reach), shoulder width apart and press the palms down, spread the fingers
- Release the head and soften the base of the neck
- Keep your weight evenly distributed and move slightly forward so you aren’t leaning too far back into your heels.
- Stay here for 30 seconds to a minute. As you release lower down, you can slide the hands back, bringing them in life with the heels.
- To exit. Inhale, bring the hands to the waist and length the spine and head forward. Exhale here.
- Inhale, come all the way up and step out of the pose.
Benefits of this posture include:
- Strengthens and stretches the inner and back legs and the spine
- Lengthens hamstrings
- Tones the abdominal organs
- Calms the mind
- Relieves mild backache
- Great for headaches and fatigue
- Helps to calm the nervous system
Please avoid if you have serious lower back problems such as bulging disc.
Otherwise, enjoy the stretch.
Signing off with an exhale.
Pause. Listen. Live.