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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

get your yoga on: forward fold

Today’s dose of tranquility is a forward fold. From a basic standing pose, inhale your arms out to the sides and over your head. Exhale as you hinge from your hips into a fold forward. Avoid folding from your waist (where a belt would be) and rounding your back, instead fold from your hip joint so that the entire pelvis tilts. Relax your head and neck while placing your hands onto your shins or to the outsides of your feet. With each inhale, lengthen the torso slightly to a flat back (as shown in the photo), exhale and fold deeper as you draw your chin to your shins. Stay here for 30 seconds to 5 minutes while moving slightly with each breath.

If you’re chair bound on an airplane or in the boardroom, you can still get the benefits of this pose. Open your feet hip width apart, bend at the hips and dangle your arms to the floor. Surrender your head and neck and savor this intoxicating inversion.

A pose is an inversion anytime your heart is above your head. Inversions are said to burn off stuck impurities (per Ayurveda – the sister science of yoga), help us get comfortable with our world turned upside down, and take a different perspective.

This delightful pose is calming and cooling, relieves stress and insomnia, improves digestion, opens up the hamstrings, soothes the neck, and stimulates the liver and kidneys.

Omwork (homework with a yogic twist): this pose can be incorporated into your busy lifestyle with ease when bending over to pick up a dust bunny, pulling out a book from the bottom shelf, or planting mums in your garden.

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