PASCHIMOTTANASANA -Posterior Stretching Pose
This is a forward bending pose from a sitting position
Sit on the floor with the legs straight out in front of you, legs together. Sit as far forward on the pelvic bone as possible.
With an inhalation, raise the arms above the head with the thumbs interlocked. As you lift the arms you are lengthening the trunk and lifting the rib cage.
With an exhalation, bend forward from the hips bringing the body towards the thighs and the head towards the knees. Hold whatever part of the straight legs you can reach, eventually holding the feet. As you come forward keep the back straight for as long as possible so that you are getting a full stretch from the hips.
Hold the pose with deep relaxed breathing. Gradually increase the holding time to one minute.
Tuck the chin in and, with the back rounded, center the hips and inhale as you roll the back up. The head comes up last. Take deep breathes.
The Sacral Chakra
Low back problems
Modifications for low back problems:
In starting position have the ankles crossed. Change legs for the second round. With the ankles crossed there is less pull on the low back muscles.
Stretches the back muscles
Lengthens and improves elasticity of the spine
Increases hip flexibility
stretches the hamstrings
flushes and massages the abdominal muscles
Relieves constipation (do not hold for more then 2 - 3 minutes as this has the opposite effect and may cause constipation!)
Tones the lumbar region of the spine and increases blood flow to the area
The stretching of the muscles, ligaments and nerves in the back of the legs may relieve some causes of sciatica
- All of the abdominal organs are stimulated
- Helps to correct lordosis
- Tones the kidneys
- increases vitality
â€œEnergy follows attentionâ€ therefore is is important to focus attention on the sacral chakra during the holding period.
While holding the pose you are releasing tension and freeing up the flow of Prana (energy) throughout the body. By focusing your attention on the sacral chakra, which is being stimulated by the pose, you are giving direction to the energy.
For the student who has no back problems it is important that the legs stay straight in order to maintain a full stretch of the lumbosacral region.
Remember to listen to your body. Keep movement slow and smooth and stop at the point of resistance.
Sitting forward on the pelvic bones in the starting position allows for better forward rotation of the pelvis when coming into the pose. Forward bends originate from the hips not the back.
While holding the pose keep the back muscles relaxed and allow the spine to sink down.