Welcome to a new series brought to you by the MSY teachers! Each of our teachers offer a different flavor to their classes and when a student (as we are all students) are working on different postures-it can be nice to get a few perspectives to feel reassurance we are moving in the correct direction.
This round-table is set-up for anyone to read and gain a better understanding of a posture-whether you use it at home or in a class. I recommend you read each teacher’s description and try to feel what each teacher is communicating. Maybe it reaffirms the work you’re putting in-maybe it helps clarify a question you have within a posture.
This week’s question: What are some useful tips for Uttanasana or Standing Forward Fold?
If you’re looking to add some intensity to this posterior stretch while you’re in it, place 2 blocks under your hands to bring the earth up to meet you (a sturdy chair with the seat facing you can also help) so your palms can lay flat, fingers pointing away. Slide your hands away, just enough that your fingers come over the edge of the block/seat farthest from you. Press the edges of the palms gently into the blocks and then toward you, without moving your hands or blocks. You want to feel the additional stretch through the back of the body. Hold and release a few times. Breathe deeply throughout.
Bend your knees and squeeze your belly button towards your spine when coming into this position. Once you get into the fold notice the feedback from your body and if your body gives the go ahead, start straightening the legs millimeter by millimeter. Use your head as a weight, relaxed neck, to pull your spine long, decompressing from the day. If blocks are not handy and you need to raise the floor up to meet your hands, put your hands on your legs!
Stand in tadasana, hands on hips. Exhale and bend forward from the hip joints. As you descend draw you front torso out of the ground and open between the pubis and the top sternum, emphasizing lengthening the front torso. If possible, with your legs straight, bring your palms or finger tips to the floor slightly in front of you or beside your feet, or bring your palms to the back of your ankles. If this isn’t possible, cross your forearms and hold your elbows. Press the heels firmly into the floor and lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling. Turn the top thighs slightly inward. With each inhalation lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly; with each exhalation release a little more fully into a forward bend.
A couple of ideas to try if one is feeling stuck and not folding freely at the hips: wobble the bent knees outward to coax the hips into letting go; another idea is to lean forward a little more (many feel that leaning forward is scary – for fear of falling on one’s head 🙂 Shifting forward helps the axis of rotation move from the back and pivot more at the hips.
Please leave any questions or comments below!