Finding Joy in Movement

Prasarita Padottanasana/ Wide-Legged Forward Bend

To begin, take the hands to the waist, then step or jump the feet out to the sides 3 to 4 feet (My general rule of thumb is that the legs should create something approximating a right angle at the hips, but it’s also nice to vary it and change the angle of the stretch from time to time). Turn the toes to face forward. Engage the quads so that the kneecaps are lifted up toward the hips.

As you exhale, reach the heart forward, fold from the hips and place the hands on the floor. Take another inhale to lengthen the front of the torso and lift the gaze. Rotate the thighs slightly away from each other as you tilt the pelvis forward between the legs. As you find your next exhale, fold all the way, roll the thighs back in and spread the sitbones. At this point both knees and feet should be pointing in the same direction – straight forward. If your hands easily reach the mat, walk the hands back so that the fingers line up with the toes and the elbows bend straight back behind you with the arms parallel. If it feels available, you might rest the crown of the head on the floor.

Stay as long as you like. Not only is Prasarita Padottanasana a great forward bend, but it is also one of the safest inversions you can find. To exit the pose, inhale as you come up half way placing the hands on the floor in front of you and lengthening the spine again. As you exhale, bend the knees slightly and take the hands to the waist. On the next inhale, come all the way back up and hop the feet together again.

There are several traditional variations of the pose. You can see pictures of two of them here (C variation), and here (D variation).

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!

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