I’ve finally done it! After years of research and at-home practice I am finally registered on a Yoga Teacher Training Programme and I couldn’t be more excited! Those of you that have read my post A New Path to Wellness you will already know my affinity to Dru Yoga – a soft, flowing form of yoga which teaches the asanas as continuous movement or, to quote their own phrase; ‘stillness in motion’ and the effect it has had on my life. In short, I’ve gone from feeling empty to feeling utterly fulfilled, spiritually, mentally and physically by the virtue of yoga.
I spent yesterday on day one of my course (although I’ve actually missed the first few sessions so have a little catching up to do!) and woke up this morning inspired to roll out my mat and practise what I learned. The learning materials that accompany the course have given me deeper knowledge of asanas that I thought I was familiar with and my journal has served as a great reminder of quotes, conversations and my own feelings from the day. One asana that thoroughly stood out to me yesterday was Paschimottanasana, or ‘sitting forward bend’ to you and I! I had no idea that such a seemingly simple and everyday pose held such greatness. It can certainly be described as a ‘master pose’, with its positive effects on attachments and stress helping to fulfill the Yamas of Brahmacharya (Self-restraint) and Aparigraha (Non-grapsing). ‘Using the senses wisely’ was the turn of phrase that I felt really encapsulated the benefits of Paschimottanasana.
When done correctly Paschimottanasana:
- Helps to release fear and amplify courage
- Controls dominating desires
- Calms the swadhisthana chakra
- Awakens the spirit
Plus has the following physical benefits:
- Stretches the hamstrings and lower back muscles
- Tones abdominals
- Strengthens pelvic floor
- Stimulates the kidneys, liver, pancreas and adrenal glands
- Helps with conditions such as diabetes
How to do Paschimottasana
Sit upright with your legs outstretched in front of you. Focus on sitting on your sit bones (You may need to physically hoick your buttocks out from under you!) and extend your spine upwards towards the ceiling.
Breathe in and bring your arms up above your above your head so that your palms face down and your fingertips just meet. Exhale and re-engage your core whilst relaxing your shoulders.
Inhale and stretch your spine upwards towards the ceiling and then on an exhalation hinge from the hips (Not the waist!) bringing your chest down towards your legs. Keep extending (Inhale) and lowering (Exhale) until your torso is closer to, or resting on your legs. You may not get this far comfortably so do not over stretch or fold at the waist in earnest – it is better to ensure an extended spine and hinging from the hips, than to force your body down by curving the spine over. Stop where you naturally reach and grab hold of your feet or further up your legs and rest here, continuing to extend and lower discreetly as you inhale and exhale.
I would recommend this pose as something to practise regularly – perhaps as part of your daily yoga or to heal and de-stress when you need help with something overwhelming.
I hope you enjoyed this extract from my yoga journal, I hope to write more posts like this as I journey through my training. Please let me know how you get on with Paschimottanasana in the comments below.
Image credit: Care2