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Forward bends for experienced students (408)

This sequence aims to bring the practitioner into an inward focussed state of mind. The hip opening and forward extensions that are included in this session will bring life and space to all the joints and leave us with a feeling of stillness, derived from staying in each pose with the forehead resting on a support, and from the sequence itself. Forward bends in and of themselves help quieten the adrenal glands.

Forward bends for experienced students (408)

Description of this sequence

This sequence aims to bring the practitioner into an inward focussed state of mind. The hip opening and forward extensions that are included in this session will bring life and space to all the joints and leave us with a feeling of stillness, derived from staying in each pose with the forehead resting on a support, and from the sequence itself. Forward bends in and of themselves help quieten the adrenal glands.

Step by step guide to this sequence

We start the session with Supta Virasana to bring some length into the front thighs and to bring opening and lift to the torso. Forward Virasana leads into Uttanasana, a full standing forward bend to feel how the legs are responding and connecting at this point of the session. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dog Pose) integrates the leg and arm actions to the trunk.

This will prepare us for Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Full Arm Balance) and Pincha Mayurasana which both lift and stabilise our mental energy.

A few standing poses to prepare the legs and hips for the seated forward bends: a small trio of poses that will go deeper into the hips and spread the hamstrings: going from Adho Mukha Svanasana taking one leg back, Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 with the front foot to the wall and Parsvottanasana with the back foot to the wall. Finish with Prasarita Padottanasana. Taking the head down here moves us towards Sirsasana, whilst keeping a good anchor through the legs.

Sirsasana or Dvi Pada Viparita Dandasana over the chair for those not doing Sirsasana today.

We follow with a series of forward bends, all done with the head resting on a blanket or bolster to quieten our mind still further: Janu Sirsasana, Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana, Triang Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottanasana, Krounchasana, Paschimottanasana and taking the legs up in Ubhaya Padangusthasana and Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana. Notice here how inwardly turned the mind starts to become.

Baddha Konasana and Upavistha Konasana (plus Parsva Upavistha Konasana) are another two balanced sitting and forward bend poses, working both legs evenly.

Follow with two twists: Bharadvajasana 1 and Marichyasana 3 to release the back muscles and bring freedom to the neck. Though active poses, these also have a mentally calming effect.

Today’s session finishes with Setu Bandha with a bolster and a staggered top blanket to open up through the upper body and chest, and counterbalance Sirsasana.

Finish with cross-legs forward and Savasana, using the bolster over the thighs to further pacify the nervous system through weight on the legs.

Equipment required

  • Mat
  • Chair
  • Blanket
  • Bolster

Video stills from this sequence

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Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)
Forward bends for experienced students (408)