This week’s pose is the third in our series of post-holiday detox twists from Stacia Nero of Deliver Me Wellness.
This pose brings flexibility to the spine and hamstrings and calms the nervous system. In the hectic world we live in and with the crazy schedules we have, forward folds are a great way to ease your self into relaxation. Let’s get started….
Start with your legs extended in front of you. It’s helpful to sit on a folded blanket if you have tight hips or hamstrings.
Inhale and bend your right knee to press your right foot into your left inner thigh. Bring your right foot to a 90 degrees angle to your left thigh and then press your right leg into the floor.
Turn your navel to line up with your extended leg then exhale, and bend over the extended left leg. Keep the left foot flexed with your toes pointed toward the ceiling. In order to not slouch, keep the center of the chest lifted and the spine long as you lower toward the left shin. When you reach your limit, bring the heart and head down toward the extended leg. On each inhale, extend the spine long, and on each exhale, deepen the forward bend. Repeat the pose on the other side.
If you have tight hamstrings and cannot reach your feet, a strap is helpful to give you those extra inches you need to find the forward fold. Here are some other options with the pose. Play around!
To take the pose deeper fold your hands behind your foot as pictured above.
You can lift the bent leg up bringing the foot into the extended leg hip crease (half lotus). Keep the ankle active and the knee open as you forward fold.
This pose can also become a twist! With the opposite hand, grab the outside of the extended foot or shin. The other arm is planted behind the back keeping the chest lifted as you send the body forward. And then let the body twist through, looking past the back shoulder.
You can also bring your forearm down, pressing against the extended leg and spiral the chest and rib cage towards the sky. The opposite arm can reach overhead with the palm facing down reaching for the big toe. The shoulders will remain open, creating space to the let the head peek through.
I love this pose and its benefits!!!!
- Calms the brain and helps relieve mild depression
- Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings, and groin area
- Stimulates the liver and kidneys
- Improves digestion
- Helps relieve symptoms of menopause
- Relieves anxiety, fatigue, headache and menstrual pain
- Therapeutic for high blood pressure, insomnia and sinusitis
- Strengthens the back muscles during pregnancy (only up to second trimester), done without coming forward, keeping your back spine concave and front torso long
If you have asthma or a knee injury, be careful with this pose. When bending an injured knee do not bend fully and support it with a blanket.
This pose may appear easy, but when done correctly and with care you will feel the challenge and notice its amazing benefits. When my days are not going so well and I need to take a moment to catch my breath and prioritize my brain, this is my go-to pose.
Move, stretch, sweat, breathe…Appreciate that body of yours and treat it well. It will treat you well in return.
Stacia teaches classes here at the Navy Yard Tuesdays 6:30 – 7:30 and Friday 12:15 – 1pm – check her out on Facebook here to find out where else you can find her!
Got any requests? Leave them in the comments and I will relay them to Stacia!
More yoga from the BLDG 25 Blog.
Photos by Julia.