March 2013 – Sitting forward bend

paschimottanasana-for-blogPaschimottanasana
Sitting Forward Bend

Physically this posture is great for releasing back tension as it stretches the hamstrings and lower back muscles. It also stimulates the digestive and reproductive systems by massaging the abdominal area, thereby helping peristalsis. It also activates the kidneys, liver, pancreas and adrenal glands and it can help improve diabetes.

Emotionally it helps us by calming the nerves, releasing fear and amplifies courage. It also helps bring control over our desire-dominated senses. It’s also a very powerful asana for spiritual awakening…

Contraindications:
If you are suffering from Sciatica or a slipped disc it is advisable not to do this posture. During pregnancy or if you are suffering from any spinal, hip or knee problems please work gently. If you know you have short hamstrings please make sure you keep the spine extended and don’t reach further than is comfortable.

It is really important that when doing this posture that you hinge forward at the hips, stretching up and forward from the lower back area, not just bending forward at the waist. To help with this it may help to sit on a cushion to help tilt the pelvis forward slightly. Preparations to help with this posture are some hamstring stretches.

How to do this posture
1. Sit upright (on a cushion if necessary) with both legs stretched out in front. Place hands on the ground by your hips. Extend spine upwards towards ceiling. With each inhalation feel spine extend, exhale spine relax.

2. With your palms facing inwards, breathe in and raise your hands slowly to the heart level, lifting your sternum as you lift the hands to heart level. As the hands come to the heart visualise a soft light at the heart centre.

3. Rotate the palms to face forward, away from the body and as you exhale gently stretch forward from the base of the spine, extending the arms along your legs as far as is comfortable. You may need to bend your knees here. As the hands are in the furthermost position visualise a soft light flowing from the heart to the crown of the head and down the arms.

4. Breathing in again, turn the palms to face the sides of legs and begin to uncurl the spine from the base, drawing the hands along the sides of the legs and up to the heart level, raising the sternum once again but keeping the shoulders relaxed. As you uncurl the spine visualise the soft light flowing up the legs back to the heart.

5. Continue with the flowing movements, working with the breath for a few times, creating a soft slowing rhythm of movement and visualisation of light moving through the body, trying to extend the forward bend a little each time but working within the limits of your own body at all times.

6. For the final forward bend, once you have placed the hands at the furthermost point, extend the arms so that the palms are flat on the floor and your forehead lowers gently towards the legs. Relax in this position breathing gently. Then in your own time, uncurl gently to an upright sitting position, resting your hands on your legs for a few moments, enjoying the energy and stillness of the posture.

Top Tip:
The key intention of this posture is to replenish your energy by letting go of painful emotions. Literally translated this is ‘the west-facing posture’ and like the setting sun, it soothes and calms your mind and emotions. As you back stretches forward old habits patterns are released, losing their hold on you so that your natural intuitive senses can unfold. Experience the wonderful energy this posture brings.

Disocver more about Dru:
> www.druworldwide.com
(yoga holidays, yoga teacher training & local yoga workshops and classes)
> Online Yoga studio
> Online Meditation course
> Online Gita Course

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How I discovered Dru Yoga…

dru-class-teacher-croppedI first discovered yoga in the mid-nineties. I was teaching at secondary school level at the time, and I was looking for a way of managing a stressful job and keeping flexible. I noticed my local leisure centre offered a yoga class and I joined up.

At the time I wasn’t aware of different yoga styles, but from what I recall it was a hatha style class, with the emphasis on holding various hatha poses for a period of time.  I had never tried yoga before and loved it – it offered me time out after a busy day’s teaching for myself to just be and quieten my busy mind.

Soon after starting yoga I began to re-evaluate my life and as a result left teaching. I loved the job in many ways, but the practice of yoga really brought home to me the effects that my teaching job was having on my health.  I entered into a series of jobs in heritage, moving around the country. I endeavored to keep my yoga up – using videos when I couldn’t find a class.  And attending classes where ever possible – over the years I have attended hatha, Iyengar, Yin and Kundalini classes.

I first came across Dru yoga in 2009 whilst surfing online. I remember being intrigued by its gentle graceful nature, flowing sequences and the ‘energy block releases’ unique to this style of yoga. I looked for a local teacher but unfortunately wasn’t able to find a regular local class in my area. I contacted the Dru Midlands office based in Wolverhampton and they encouraged me to try some workshops and even try the Teacher Training Taster day they had planned.  Having attended the taster and a workshop – as well as buying the DVD – I became hooked.

I completed the Dru Teacher Training course in 2012 and I loved every minute of it. Not only did the course satisfy my appetite to discover more about Dru, I learned effective techniques to apply in my everyday life. When it’s all feeling a bit hectic my favorite is to take some time out and stand in mountain pose, breathe and ground myself. Simple, yet very effective!   And the energy block releases have taught me the importance of releasing unresolved emotional energy.

Dru yoga has been a valuable addition to my life on many levels. It helps me manage the demands of daily life, keeps my energy levels up and also allows me the time and space to focus. I am now teaching Dru Yoga and I am constantly delighted to see how Dru yoga positively helps and empowers my students.

Susan Hardwick
Dru Yoga Teacher, Nottingham

Disocver more about Dru:
> www.druworldwide.com
(yoga holidays, yoga teacher training & local yoga workshops and classes)
> Online Yoga studio
> Online Meditation course
> Online Gita Course