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Forward bends to strengthen your foundations

Pixie teaches a forward bend sequence for students getting more comfortable with foundation Iyengar yoga poses.

Forward bends to strengthen your foundations

About this video sequence

Forward bends are calming to the nervous system. They quieten the adrenal glands and have an overall mellowing effect.
And like all asana sessions, you will also find that they are working on different parts of your body, different joints: your hips, your knees, your feet, your shoulders.

Forward bends should be practised at least once weekly, and then anytime you are feeling hot, tired, headache affected or just overdone.

Sequence steps

Start the sequence off with a few minutes lying back over a bolster with the legs in simple X leg and head support as needed. Change the X leg halfway through.

Then come up and go forwards in Virasana, using the bolster to support your wrists and hands, and rolling the buttocks down towards the heels. Sternum forward!

Now continue starting with a few standing forward bends.

Come up for Uttanasana, a standing forward bend with feet apart and hands to the shins if they don’t easily reach the floor.
And now also try Uttanasana to the wall, with legs about a foot away from the wall and about hip-width apart. Lean the buttocks against the wall and go forward.

Adho Mukha Svanasana, Dog Pose, with feet on blocks and heels up and against the wall.
Parsvottanasana, hands and forehead to the chair or hands to the backrest of the chair if stiffer.
Prasarita Padottanasana, another standing forward bend with legs wide apart and forehead and arms resting to the chair seat.

Prepare and go up to Sirsasana, Headstand, and hold to capacity without strain. Stay in the preparation phase of the pose if not going all the way up.

Come down from Sirsasana and prepare for some seated upright and forward bending poses.

Place a blanket or bolster near the wall for support for the buttocks and sit in Baddha Konasana with the back and up against the wall.
Spread the legs to Upavistha Konasana, still with the back to the wall and support under the buttocks as needed.
These are sitting transition poses that will prepare the hips and groins for some supported forward bends.
Next, you will move into the basic forward bending postures, with head support, taking the arms and forehead to a chair seat, with extra head support if needed to keep the front of the body long.

Janu Sirsasana on both sides. If the bent leg knee is up off the floor, place a folded blanket underneath the knee.
Triang Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottananasana, both sides. If the foot is distorted or the knee tight, take extra support for both buttocks.
Then Paschimottanasana with feet apart and head and buttock support as needed.

To release the back, use your chair for some seated chair twists.
Bharadvajasana, with the chair. Have knees apart with a brick between the knees.
Change sides. 3-4 breaths on each side.

Finish the sequence with Shoulderstand, using a bolster or folded blankets for under the shoulders and with the buttocks resting on the chair seat. This will give the benefit of Sarvangasana, Shoulderstand, but without any strain on the neck or shoulders.

After 5-6 minutes slide down and rest the buttocks on the bolster and shoulders and neck on the floor for a few breaths.

Go to Virasana forward and then lie out for Savasana.

Equipment required

  • Bolster
  • Mat
  • Chair
  • Blanket

Video stills from this sequence

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Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations
Forward bends to strengthen your foundations