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Day 11: Intermediate

Forward Bends with Elise Lorimer

On a physical level, forward bends stretch the back of the body, including the erector spinae muscles, which run the length of the spine; the intervertebral ligaments; and the hamstrings. As we fold forward, we compress the intestines and other abdominal organs and create more space for the kidneys, stimulating their function.

On a more subtle level, forward bends direct the gaze and attention inward.

Because of their calming effect, practices that emphasize forward bending are generally reserved for the end of the day. Today's sequence warms up the body with gentle Sun Salutations, hip openers, and twists, and then begins to cool things down with Paschimottanasana, the Seated Forward Bend.

You'll need a block and a blanket for this sequence.

Watch Today's Video »

Challenge Tip

One of the simplest and quickest ways to relax your body and calm your mind is to lengthen your exhalation. Start by observing the natural breath, then consciously extend the exhalation by one second every two or three breaths. The beauty of this technique is that you can practice it any time, even when sitting at your desk in the middle of a busy day.

Today's Recipe: Mexican Hot

Cinnamon sticks take this from simply tasty hot chocolate to a warming, spicy treat.

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