Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend with Reverse Prayer Hands or Prasarita Padottanasana with Reverse Namaste

At TriYoga, London

I am a huge fan of forward bends. In my everyday yoga I throw in two or three different variations. A simple forward bend always does the trick, but when I want to have fun, as well as challenge myself, I play with different variations. 
Forward bends are exceptionally beneficial for the body and the mind. By bending forward, you release the upper body muscles. Stiff neck and shoulders restrict the blood flow into the head, which can cause headaches, stress and bad sleep.
The variation I am showing above is called Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend with Reverse Prayer Hands or Prasarita Padottanasana with Reverse Namaste in Sanskrit. The Reverse Prayer hand position is a good stretch for the wrists and especially beneficial if you are married to your computer.

Take your time
As this stretch is also a deep hamstring stretch, be kind to your legs and do it only when you have warmed up properly. Make sure the toes are slightly turned in and the heels out. This will make the ankles stronger and in case you should twist your ankle outside the class, you will not suffer as much as you would normally do. If you are flexible and your head touches the floor, don't go so wide with your legs.
If you are very uncomfortable in Reverse Prayer, and a little discomfort is to be expected, hold on to your elbows instead. Get the hands in your chosen position when you are upright, breathe in and on an out-breath slowly bend forward with a straight back until you can go no further. Take at least 5 deep and slow breaths, which you should direct into your back. Hear the ribs crack when you breathe.
At this point you could also throw in a few facial exercises. Facial exercises relax tense muscles and are free cosmetic surgery.
When you are ready, come up very slowly on an in-breath and with a straight back. Then shake your hands and legs and roll your shoulders a few times.

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