Seated Forward Bend

Paschimottanasana

Level: Basic

Instructions

1. From Staff pose, inhale the arms up over the head and lift and lengthen up through the fingers and crown of the head.

2. Exhale and hinging at the hips, slowly lower the torso towards the legs.  Reach the hands to the toes, feet or ankles.

3. To deepen the stretch: A) Use the arms to gently pull the head and torso closer to the legs.  B) Press out through the heels and gently draw the toes towards you.

4. Breathe and hold for 3-8 breaths.

5. To release: A) Slowly roll up the spine back into Staff pose.  B) Inhale the arms back over your head as you lift the torso back into Staff pose.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Seated forward fold provides a deep stretch for entire back side of body from the heels to the neck. Forward fold calms the nervous system and emotions and stimulates the reproductive and urinary systems.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the arms, hips, ankles or shoulders.

Modifications + Variations

Modifications: If you cannot reach your hands to the feet: A) Use a yoga strap around the feet and hold on to the strap with both hands.  B) Bend the knees enough to reach the feet with the hands and to place the head on the knees.

Variations: If you have the flexibility, reach the hands in front of the foot, clasping hand to wrist.

Vinyasa

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Staff, Inclined Plane, Crab, Bound Angle.

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Ardha Matsyendrasana A , Seated Angle, Supine Poses.

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