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Experienced level forward bends, emphasising leg and groin work (417)

Experienced leg and hip extension sequence aimed at strengthening your foundations.

Contents

Introduction

This session focuses on paying close attention to the groin and leg actions which help to support the spine in its lengthening and forward movement. There are some basic principles that run though all the sitting and forward bending postures. If we maintain that focus, the poses feel both integrated and free at the same time.

Start in Supta Virasana, and then come up and go forward. It’s useful to begin to observe what feedback our bodies give from the very start, where the stiffness is, where the attention is lacking. It is mainly the brain that first needs to become alert, so that we can see what is needed.
Uttanasana will give a good idea of how the legs are “behaving” today. Bring your attention to the back of the legs, and keep the front thigh creases deep as you go forward. Maintain that as you step into Adho Mukha Svanasana.
Come up to Tadasana, and then step from Uttanasana, to Adho Mukha Svanasana and back to Uttanasana and Tadasana a few times. Then from Adho Mukha Svanasana move into Parsvottanasana, and finally into Prasarita Padottanasana, the whole time observing the depth of the front groins and bringing openness to the back of the thighs evenly.
Adho Mukha Vrksasana to the wall, and then try Pincha Mayurasana free balancing to see how much focus is required when we need to balance, and how working with balance brings focus.

Set up for Sirsasasana, and bring one leg at a time up for Eka Pada Sirsasana. Then go up to Sirsasana, at the end coming to Eka Pada Sirsasana and Baddha Konasana in Sirsasana.

Next we will bring more attention to the groins and legs through Supta Padangusthasana 1, 2, 3 and 4. Observe those same points when doing Urdhva Prasarita Padasana with the legs against the wall, and then keep the groins open in Baddha Konasana and Upavistha Konasana to the wall.

Come to Dandasana, keeping those same areas active in sitting up in Baddha Konasana and the Upavistha Konasana. Can you hold that attention as you go fully forward from there?

What challenges do the next poses bring when aiming to maintain good groin and thigh opening? Janu Sirsasana, Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana, Triangmukhaikapada Paschimottanasana, Krounchasana, Paschimottanasana, the same principles in the different asana.

Marichyasana 3 and Ardha Matsyendrasana both need the groins to be soft and down to facilitate lift in the spine to twist more deeply.

Finish the session with Sarvangasana, Halasana and Eka Pada Sarvangasana, simple cross-legs forward and Savasana. Use all your blankets to place over the top of the thighs to bring fuller restfulness to the legs and nerves.

View sequence

Supta Virasana
Reclining Hero Pose
Lay on your back with your legs bent, your toes pointing backward.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Mini Salute to the Sun Cycle
Start in Tadasana. As you inhale, raise your arms up to the ceiling. As you exhale, fold over into Uttanasana. Walk your feet out into Adho Mukha Svanasana, stretch the back of your body, lift your hips up to capacity. Walk your feet back up into Uttanasana and let your spine release downwards. As you inhale, stand back up in Tadasana.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Parsvottanasana
Pyramid Pose
Place your feet one leg-length apart, your back foot angled out slightly. Keep your legs straight as you start to fold over your front leg, maintaining a concave spine for as far into the bend as possible.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Concave Spine)
Wide Legged Forward Bend with Concave Spine
Spread your weight evenly between your feet and keep your back straight as you tip from your hips, placing your hands on the floor, blocks, or chair seat, depending on your flexibility.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Head Down)
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Plant your feet as wide apart as you can. Place your hands on the floor and lengthen forward through your spine. Once you have achieved the concave spine, start to walk your hands backward to capacity, aiming to lengthen and release your spine as evenly as possible.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Adho Mukha Vrksasana
Handstand
Open your hands into the floor and strengthen your arms as you lift your body up, one leg at a time, into an inverted balance. Use the wall for support if necessary. If pushing yourself up proves to be too difficult, you can walk your feet up the wall.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Pincha Mayurasana
Feathered Peacock Pose
Spread your weight evenly across your forearms, activate your shoulders, and lengthen your spine as you lift yourself into this inverted balance. Use wall support if needed. You can also wrap a belt around your arms to keep them steady.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Headstand Preparation with Blocks
Headstand Preparation
Place your forearms flat on the floor next to a wall and interlock your fingers behind the back of your skull. Keeping your head on the floor and your back straight, start to walk your feet closer toward your trunk. Straighten your back and pull your hips up to capacity. This can also be done with your feet to the wall.
Salamba Sirsasana Wall Support
Headstand 1
Activate your shoulders and upper back muscles as you lift your body up into inverted balance. Use the wall for support if necessary.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Supta Padangusthasana I
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Press your back body into the floor, point the kneecap and toes of your supine leg toward the ceiling, as you extend the other leg up over your hip. Use a belt if needed.
Supta Padangusthasana II
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Lie down on your back. Point kneecap and toes on your left leg upward, as you stretch your right leg out to the side. Use a belt if necessary. Change sides.
Viparita Karani
Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
Bring your hips up to the wall and lift your legs up. You can use a bolster or other form of support under your hips and lumbar spine to incorporate a mild backbend into the pose.
Upavistha Konasana Head Up
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Head Up)
Keep your back straight and chest open as you grab onto your toes. Lengthen through your crown. Use belts if necessary.
Dandasana
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Baddha Konasana
Bound Angle Pose
Bring your feet as close as possible to your pelvis and join them together. Straighten your back and let gravity pull your knees down toward the floor. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
Upavistha Konasana
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Use support under buttocks if your inner groins roll backward. Kneecaps and all ten toes face the ceiling. Keep your hands by your by hips, fingers pointing forwards. Lengthen your spine. Once you have mastered these foundations, you can also bend forward while reaching your feet with your hands. Use a belt if necessary.
Dandasana
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Janu Sirsasana
Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
Bend your knee out to the side and keep your sit-bones pointing downward as you stretch out over your extended leg. Use a belt if necessary.
Dandasana
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Experienced level forward bends, emphasising leg and groin work (417)
Half Bound Lotus Forward Fold
Start in Dandasana. Bend your left knee and place the foot onto your thigh right thigh-crease. Reach your left hand behind your back to grab hold of your big toe. Pull your abdomen in, reach forward, and grab your right foot with your right hand. Change sides and repeat.
Dandasana
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Triang Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottanasana
Three-Limbed Forward Bend
Bend your left knee so your foot points straight back as you extend your right leg forward. Release your spine as you reach out to grab a hold of your extended foot. Use a belt if necessary. Repeat on both sides.
Experienced level forward bends, emphasising leg and groin work (417)
Heron Pose
Start in Dandasana. Bend one leg back into Virasana. Extend the other leg upward, so that, ideally, your shin joins your head. Use a belt if necessary.
Dandasana
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Paschimottanasana
Seated Forward Bend
Make sure the backs of your legs are pressed firmly to the ground as you bend over to reach your feet. Release the spine. Use a belt if necessary.
Experienced level forward bends, emphasising leg and groin work (417)
Marichi's Pose III
Hook your elbow around your knee and twist. Keep your sit-bones pointed downward.
Experienced level forward bends, emphasising leg and groin work (417)
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose I
Starting in seated, bend your right leg in a way that the thigh and side of the calf is pressed to the floor. Take the right foot over to the left buttock. Plant the left foot on the outside of the right buttock. Hook your elbow behind your upward-facing knee and use it as leverage to twist your body to capacity.
Dandasana
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Sarvangasana
Shoulderstand
Activate your arms and shoulders as you lift your body up perpendicular to the floor. Use blankets or bolsters to support your shoulders. Make sure the back of your neck stays relaxed and maintains its natural curve.
Ekapada Sarvangasana
One-Legged Shoulderstand Pose
Activate your shoulders and lift your body up into a straight line. Place your hands on your back to help you keep your balance. Keeping your body straight and your hips aligned, bring one foot down behind your head.
Halasana
Plough Pose
Use support under your shoulders. Keeping your shoulders open, lift your hips up high above your head, dropping your feet down behind you. Place your hands on your back to help keep it from rounding.
Simple Cross Legs Forward
Sit with your legs crossed. Keep your sit-bones pointing down as you stretch your arms forward to capacity, lengthening your spine.
Savasana
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.