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Hatha Yoga: The Yoga of the Physical Body.


Paschimottasana: The Back Stretching Pose


Instructions.

  • Sit on the floor with legs straight in front of the body, the lower arms on the thighs.

  • Relax the whole body, especially the back muscles.

  • Slowly bend the body forward.

  • Try to grasp the big toes with the fingers and the thumbs. If this is impossible then hold the heels, the ankles or the legs as near to the feet as possible.

  • Again, consciously relax the back and leg muscles.

  • Keeping the legs straight and without utilizing the back muscles, only using the arms, pull the trunk a little lower toward the legs.

  • This should be a process without any sudden movement or excessive strain anywhere in the body.

  • If possible, without strain, touch the knees with the forehead.

  • Remain in the final pose for a comfortable length of time, trying to further relax the whole body, and then slowly return to the starting position.

 


Note.

  • Do not bend the legs at the knees.

  • It is part of the aim of the asana to stretch the muscles at the back of the legs. Do not force, they will elongate in time.

  • After some weeks or months of regular practice you will be able to touch the knee with the forehead or perhaps even the chin.

 


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