Contrary to popular belief, Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) is not about touching your toes or being able to tap your knees with your nose. It's actually about creating length, as much length as you possibly can, in your spine and in your hamstrings. There are so many different ways to modify this pose. You can check out some seated modifications here, but in today's post, I want to show you a couple new ways to get creative with this pose so that you can experience the best and most comfortable stretch for your body.
Paschimottanasana comes with so many benefits, including:
- massaging the internal organs and improving digestion
- relieving lower back pain
- soothing the nervous system
- stretching the hamstrings and spine
If you're a chronic pain warrior, getting down to the floor to practice this pose may not be a possibility. You could opt to practice this pose in bed, which is a super gentle and restorative option. Or you could practice this pose in a chair for a more energetic practice...
HOW TO PRACTICE PASCHIMOTTANASANA IN A CHAIR
To practice this variation, sit at the edge of a chair with the legs extended in front of you. The feet should be flexed, toes pointed toward the ceiling. You can rest your hands on your thighs or on two blocks. Sit up tall, lengthen the crown of your head away from your tail bone. Tilt your pelvis forward and pull the low belly in to protect your lower back and create additional length in your hamstrings. Keep your neck neutral. Shoulders away from your ears. Hold for ten deep breaths.
If you're struggling with symptoms that make it hard for you to sit upright, you could opt for a supine variation instead...
HOW TO PRACTICE PASCHIMOTTANASANA LYING DOWN
For this variation, you will need a yoga strap. To come into this pose, lie flat on your back with your strap at the ready. Bend your knees into your chest and lasso both feet with your strap. Begin to extend your legs and reach the heels toward the sky. Make sure that your strap is long enough so that when you extend your legs, you can still keep your shoulder blades and elbows glued to the mat. This will prevent you from straining your neck. If there is a bend in your knees here, that's okay!
Take ten deep breaths here and then release the hold.
HOW DID IT GO?
If you tried either of these variations, I'd love to know how it went for you! Tag me on Instagram and use the hashtag #spoonieyogatribe in your photos for a chance to be featured on my page!