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Forward Bends

By Richard Rosen

ForwardBend

Forward bends are typically thought of as poses that direct our awareness away from the outside world and toward the inner world. While the back of the body is being stretched in forward bends, particularly the backs of the legs, our attention should continually be focused on the front torso. Always tip into a forward bend from the groins, being sure to maintain the length of the front torso, especially the lower belly between the pubic bone (the front bottom of the pelvis) and the navel. As soon as you begin to feel this area shorten, you should stop the forward movement, lift out of the pose slightly, reestablish the length of the lower belly, and then try to bend forward again.


Forward Bend Sequence

Total time: 50 to 70 minutes

  1. Supta Padangustasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose)
    Hold the right leg vertical for one to two minutes, then open the leg out to the side, resting the outer thigh on a block for the same length of time. Repeat with the left leg for the same length of time. (Total time: two to four minutes)
  2. Dandasana (Staff Pose)
    Hold for one minute, then lean back and, with an exhalation, draw the legs into Baddha Konasana.
  3. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
    Hold for one minute, then as you inhale, lightly extend the legs back into Dandasana. (Total time for steps two and three: two minutes)
  4. Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-knee Pose)
    Hold for two to three minutes on a side. (Total time: four to six minutes)
  5. Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half-Bound Half-Lotus Forward Bend)
    Hold for two to three minutes on each side. (Total time: four to six minutes)
  6. Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana (Three-Limbed Forward Bend)
    Hold for two to three minutes on each side. (Total time: four to six minutes)
  7. Krounchasana (Heron Pose)
    Hold for one to two minutes on each side. (Total time: four to six minutes)
  8. Marichyasana I (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Marichi)
    Hold for one to two minutes on each side. (Total time: four to six minutes)
  9. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
    (Total time: two to three minutes)
  10. Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend)
    First twist to the right for one minute, then to the left for the same length of time. Return to center and fold forward for two minutes. (Total time: four minutes)
  11. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
    (Total time: one minute)
  12. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
    (Total time: one to two minutes)
  13. Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
    For one minute on each side. (Total time: two minutes)
  14. Utthita Parsvottanasana (Extended Side Stretch Pose)
    Place the hands on the floor on either side of the front foot. Hold for one minute on each side. (Total time: two minutes)
  15. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend)
    (Total time: one to two minutes)
  16. Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand)
    (Total time: three to five minutes)
  17. Halasana (Plow Pose)
    (Total time: one to three minutes)
  18. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
    (Total time: 10 minutes)

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