Seated Forward Fold – Paschimottanasana (6-9 Eggs)

“If your right leg is stretching and your left leg is not, you believe that the left leg is in ahimsa and the right leg in himsa…. You think that the stretching is himsa and non-stretching is ahimsa. In both cases, you are creating himsa. If one is a deliberate aggression, the other is non-deliberate. At the moment when both legs are equally stretch or equally relaxed, there is neither violence nor non-violence. This is how you have to study the ethics in asana.”

B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga Wisdom & Practice

Where To

• Under the Sitz bones

• Behind the knees

• Under the hands

• Under the forehead (optional passive posture)

Why To

• Placing Eggs under the Sitz bones facilitates freedom of movement and better rotation of the pelvis, minimizing strain on the hamstrings.

• Placing the Eggs behind the knees protects them from hyper-extension.

• Supporting the knees with Eggs, even when hips are still grounded on the floor, makes hinging from the hips easier.

• Using the Eggs under your hands encourages you to lengthen through all four sides of your torso.  This will help you move deeper into the pose while maintaining a flat back.

How To

• Sit on the Eggs in Lotus Booty (you can sit on more Eggs if you need more height, but be mindful of how this impacts the Egg-placement under your knees).

• Place 1-2 Eggs under each knee.

• Engage your quads, to draw your kneecaps toward your groin.

• Internally rotate your thighs.

• Toes and knees should be pointed up toward the ceiling.

• Press your thigh bones down toward the ground.

• Inhale to find space between your pubic bone and naval.

• Take an Egg in each hand, and leading with your heart, maintain that space as you walk your hands forward, folding from the hip-crease.

• Utilize the shape of the Eggs to roll back and lift out of your lower spine.  This will help you move your shoulder blades down the back.

• Remain here for several breaths.

• On an exhalation, step the Eggs forward, deepening the posture slightly.

• Try this in three phases each time you do the pose.  If you find your spine rounding, take a step back, lift out of your lower spine, and focus on extending the torso and lifting out of the lower back.  Maintaining a flat back is more important than going deep into the pose.

• If you want to experience a more passive forward fold, try stacking one or more Eggs on your legs.  Gently allow your back to round, and rest your head on the Egg in your lap.  Bring your hands to your shins, ankles, or feet and enjoy this restorative variation.

When Not To

• If back pain persists even after elevating the Sitz bones, return to an upright position, and approach the forward fold pausing when you begin to feel pain.

• If you have a hamstring injury consult a physician before engaging in forward folds.



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