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Dutch Smiling Yogi in Prasarita Padottanasana I – wide legged forward bend

Wide Legged Forward Bend – Prasarita Padottanasana

We live in a forward bending society. Hours and hours a day, we spend bended forward, hunched over our computer, iPad, laptop and telephone and hanging on chairs and sofas.  So you would think we won’t have problems with bending forward, but still: most injuries I had to take care of as a massage therapist where back injuries. Why? Because the forward bends we do are actually not ‘good’ forward bends. We bend halfway our back instead of bending from the hips. Prasarita Padottanasana – wide legged forward bend helps our bodies the bend forward correctly again and releases the pelvis, which is locked by most people as it was with me, before I started doing yoga.

Bending forward actually comes from the hips, not from the back. Our hamstrings are the biggest problems by forward bends. These are attached to the sitting bones, at the back of the pelvis. To be able to bend forward, the hamstrings have to lengthen, so the pelvis can tilt and the upper body can come forward. Short hamstrings prevent the tilting of the pelvis. The result is that we start bending halfway our upper body which strains the muscles of the back and neck. In Prasarita Padottanasana we lengthen the hamstrings muscles.

Getting into Prasarita Padonttanasana – wide legged forward bend:

  • Start in Tadasana – mountain posture
  • Step your right foot back in a wide legged stand and open your arms sideways. Your feet should be more or less under your wrists
  • Place your hands on your hips, breath in deeply and lengthen your spine, having the crown of your head ‘floating’ upwards
  • Breath out and bend from the hips, placing your hands on the floor; if possible between your feet
  • Breath in and lengthen the back once more, looking slightly upwards
  • Breath out and bend forward as much as you can. You want to feel the stretch in your hamstrings; the back of your thighs. If you do so, straighten your legs as much as you can; pulling your knee caps up. If you feel the stretch mainly in the back of your knees, bend your legs up until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings
  • Stay in the pose for half a minute
  • Breath in and bring your upper body parallel to the floor. Breath out and place your hands on your pelvis again
  • Breath in and slowly come all the way up
  • Breath out and step back in Tadasana

 Benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana – wide legged forward bend

  • Stretches the hamstrings, adductors and calve muscles
  • Sends extra blood to the upper body and the head
  • Strengthens digestion
  • Promotes weight loss

Source: Iyengar – Light on Yoga / Key muscles of Yoga – Ray Long / Ashtanga – David Swenson /  Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha – Swami Satyananda Saraswati

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