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In Upward-Facing Intense Stretch Pose, it’s crucial to hug your torso and thighs together and lengthen upward to find balance. Here’s how.
Upward-Facing Intense Stretch Pose (Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana)
Getting Into the Peak Pose: Upward-Facing Stretch Pose
From a seated position, bend your knees and hook your big toes. Lean back to the edge of your sit bones as you fi rm your legs to straighten them. On an inhalation, expand your chest. On an exhalation, fold your thighs and your torso in toward each other. Place your palms on your feet, stretching your heels upward. On an inhalation, press your shoulder blades in, drawing your chest and face up. On an exhalation, fold your legs deeper into your chest. Aim to use your hip flexors, abdominal wall, and deep spinal muscles—engaging the entire core. As these muscles work in harmony, you will fi nd your center line and come to balance on your sit bones. Hold here for 5 breaths.
Alternatives to Upward-Facing Stretch Pose
Happy Baby Balancing Pose
From sitting, bend your knees and lean back onto your sit bones. Hook your big toes and float your legs off the floor. Move your lower spine in, balancing on your sit bones, trying not to fall back.
Stand close to a wall, facing it, and roll down to Standing Forward Bend. Walk in as much as you can, resting your back on the wall. If you can, walk in, keeping your hamstrings engaged. Eventually, try slipping your hands under your feet.
Half Upward-Facing Intense Stretch
From sitting, bend your knees and wrap your hands around the soles of your feet. Straighten your legs, making continuous adjustments forward and back, in and up, as you make your way into this pose.
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