Benefits and description of this sequence
This sequence aims to take the experienced student through a wide range of forward bends in what could be called a ‘classical’ progression.
Forward bends bring life to the hips, knees, and upper back and neck, and they also calm the nervous system and lead us into a reflective, quiet state of mind. Each pose brings us deeper into mental stillness as we go through the session, even as it works quite strongly into the hips, knees, and upper back.
Step-by-step detailed description of this sequence
Start with lying back over a bolster, in Supta Baddha Konasana or Supta Virasana (not pictured here).
Go forward and then come up and move into Uttanasana. Feet apart. Follow with Adho Mukha Svanasana, Dog Pose, starting to bring more focus into your legs, arms, and torso.
Continue then with Adho Mukha Vrksasana and Pincha Mayurasana to bring life to the upper body in preparation for Sirsasana.
Before Sirsasana, a few standing poses, focussing on opening through the backs of the legs and connecting through the legs to release and lengthen the spine. Notice how the leg work gives support to the hips and helps lead to a sense of integration through the body.
Here you will take the front foot up the wall, which creates stability and draws the front leg back into the hip.
Now prepare for Sirsasana and Eka Pada Sirsasana, to work the legs when upside down.
Release down and move into Virasana Forward and take a few breaths there to release the neck and shoulders.
Come to sitting, in Dandasana.
Move into Janu Sirsasana, supports for the bent knee if needed. Extend well forward with the hands, clasping the hands around the sole of the foot or using a belt.
Continue to Triang Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottanasana.
Krounchasana comes next, to follow on with the single leg extension but now up in the air.
Now both legs in the air in Ubhaya Padangusthasana, and then you can work towards Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana (not pictured) clasping the hands around the feet according to capacity.
Straight Paschimottanasana follows from here, noting the same actions as in the last two poses but now with the legs anchored onto the floor. Baddha Konasana and bend forward. Upavistha Konasana, straight forward and then Parsva Upavistha Konasana to each side.
Now we move into the twists, open and closed.
Start with Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana, keeping the bottom waist near the extended leg, anchoring that leg down as you turn to look up.
Sitting twists: Marichyasana 3, keeping the bent and straight leg buttock quite evenly weighted. Try with and without support under the buttocks. Ardha Matsyendrasana 1, sitting properly on the lower foot, little toe tucked under and the foot horizontal on its edge. The base of each pose is important for how it follows on.
Back to Dandasana to bring everything back to the centre, before setting up for Sarvangasana, Eka Pada Sarvangasana, Halasana, Supta Konasana, and finally, Karna Pidasana to release any tightness in the lower back. Release down, lying for a moment with the shoulders and head on the floor over the blanket support.
Virasana forward, arms in front with the hands facing towards each other. Press down through the wrists, lift the elbows up and release the mid-dorsal spine down.
Complete your sequence with a good steady Savasana, taking time to settle in order to experience the inner quietness, a mellow sensation, inside.