From Pashimottanasana, bend your right leg back to bring the right heel to the outside of the right hip. Lift the hips up off the floor slightly and use your hand to roll the right calf out of the way. Ground both sit bones into the floor here. If your quads are tight (as is the case with many runners and cyclists), lift the sit bones by sitting on a blanket or other prop (you can place the blanket underneath both sit bones or just the left one). The right foot should stay on the floor however.
Be respectful of your knees here. Honor any pain that comes up by either adding more height, or finding a different pose to take. It is more important to keep the hips level then to have the sit bones reach the floor. To lengthen the quads, you can spend a little bit of time in Virasana each day. Essentially, we are taking Virasana on just one side here, but the addition of a forward bend can mean we don’t pay as much attention to the folded leg as we should. I therefore recommend taking Virasana on its own until you have lengthened the quads enough to be comfortable and know that you are not endangering your knees. If you have questions, consult with your teacher.
Ground both sitbones and sit up as straight and tall as you can. Keeping awareness on the hips so they stay even, reach forward for the left foot. Try and reach forward first with your belly button (bend from the hips and reach forward with the sternum). Then you can let the head come down a bit (bending slightly from the waist) though keeping your primary focus on lengthening the spine. Try and keep the torso even so that both sides are the same distance away from the floor.
Extend out through the left heel. The left toes and the left kneecap should both be pointing straight up toward the ceiling. Hold in the pose for at least 30 seconds, then switch to the other side and repeat for the same amount of time.
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!