Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), facing one of the long edges of your sticky mat, then lightly hop or step your feet apart anywhere from three to four and a half feet (depending on your height: taller people should step wider). Put your hands on your hips. Make sure your inner feet are parallel to each other. Raise your inner arches by drawing upon the inner ankles, and press the outer edges of your ball of the big toe and feet firmly into the floor. Engage the thigh muscles by drawing them up. Breathe in and lift your chest, making the front torso slightly longer than the back.
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Breathe out and, maintaining the length of the front torso, lean the torso ahead from the hip joints. As your torso reaches parallel to the floor, press your fingertips into the floor directly below your shoulders. Enlarge your elbows fully. Your arms and legs then parallel to each other and should be perpendicular to the floor. Move your spine equally into the back torso so that your back is slightly concave from the tailbone to the foundation of the skull. Bring your head up, keeping the back of the neck long, and direct your gaze up toward the ceiling.
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Push your top thighs straight back to assist lengthen the front torso, and draw the inner groins away from each other to widen the foundation of your pelvis. Take some breaths. As you maintain the concavity of your back and the forward lift of your sternum, walk your fingers between your feet. Take some more breaths and then, with a breathe out, lower your torso and bend your elbows and head into a full forward bend. Monitor as you move down that you keep your front torso as long as possible. If possible rest your head on the floor.
Press your inner flat of the hand actively into the floor, fingers pointing forward. If you have the suppleness to move your torso into a full forward bend, walk your hands back until your upper arms parallel and your forearms are straight to the floor. Be sure to keep your arms parallel to each other and broaden the shoulder blades across the back. Pull your shoulders away from your ears.
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Stay in the pose anywhere from thirty seconds to one minute. To egress, bring your hands back on the floor below your shoulders and lift and elongate your front torso. Then with a breath in, put your hands on your hips, swing the torso up, and draw your tailbone down to the floor. Walk or hop your feet back into Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
|Cautions and Contraindications|
|Modifications and Props|
|Some beginners are not able to easily fetch their hands to the floor and need a good deal of support in this forward bend to defend their lower back. Try raising your hands off the floor by resting each on the end of a block. If your back is yet rounded, then use a folding chair to support your forearms. Always Remember in forwarding bends to emphasize the length of the front torso.|
|Deepen the Pose|
|Advanced yoga students can get a better sense of how to work the arms in this pose by using a block. Set a block on one of its sides, with its long axis parallel to the long edge of your sticky mat, on the floor in front of you. Lean ahead into the pose and hold the block between your forearms, just below the elbows, and pick it up off the floor. Then complete the pose with your crown and palms on the floor. Now press the block strongly between your forearms, pressing your inner hands actively into the floor. This action of the arms will also get you ready for poses like Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Pose) and Headstand variations.|
|Prasarita Padottanasana (wide legged forward bend) is often sequenced near the end of a standing pose practice. Besides several of the standing poses, good preparations for this pose include:
|Most beginning students are not able to easily touch the crown of their head to the floor in the last stage of this forward bend. Instead, you can support your head on a padded block, a thickly folded blanket, or a bolster.|