Relieve Tight Hamstrings with Wide Leg Forward Flexion

Pose: Wide Leg Forward Flexion

Sanskrit Name: Prasarita Padottanasana


How do I prepare for the pose? 

Props

 Two blocks. Two sandbags. Two bolsters. A folding chair with a blanket on the seat. A wall or a version of a wall.

Breath work

Inhale and exhale rhythmically in the pose to center yourself in the present moment.

Step one = Assess

My one-on-one assessment teaches you about body mechanics, joint position, muscular action/reaction, connective tissue health, nervous system health, and bone and spinal alignment.   

Step two = Apply  

Read How do I practice the pose? first. Do your best to remember the directions, but try not to get caught up in doing the pose perfectly.

When you practice these poses on your own, practice receiving feedback with yoga props, furniture, and walls. Remember to evenly engage muscular effort across joints. Balance opposite actions such as evenly resisting inward at the shins and outward at the thighs. 

Utilize the knowledge you have learned about body mechanics (creating movement with alignment, awareness, breath, and precision) to create energetic openings and deep releases, so you reach your fullest potential in the pose. Small incremental positive changes are gained on the physical level.

Then, and only if it’s comfortable for you, close your eyes or turn your gaze inward. Feel the feedback you receive from the props and match that with the positive emotion(s) that you want to feel. 

Step three = Activate

Repeat the pose 3 times on each side. You are repeating the pose to retrain your body, mind, heart, and spirit to feel expansive, abundant, positive, and alive. You are learning to transform habituated patterns of thinking, feeling, and being that create constriction and limitations in your mind, body, heart, and spirit. 

Transformational Work activates: 

  • The body to feel energized.
  • The mind to feel open, fresh, and new. 
  • The heart to feel positive emotion(s). 
  • The spirit to feel alive, connected, and free.

Caution:  If your hamstrings feel like they are over stretching or hurting at any point, mindfully exit the pose the way you entered the pose.


How do I practice the pose?

Apply props to offer you feedback.

  • Set up the mat longways and parallel to the wall.
  • Prop-assistance. Place both sandbags on each end of the mat.
  • Prop-assistance. Place the bolster(s) or chair in front of the mat. 
  • Prop-assistance. Place each of the blocks near the sandbags. 
  • Stand in the center of the mat and step each of your feet out to the edge of your mat, approximately four feet wide.  
  • Prop-assistance. Adjust the position of the sandbags so that you can press the outer foot into them. Or, place the sandbags on your feet for a more grounding effect. 
  • Fold forward and depending on your flexibility place your hands either on the floor, bolster(s), or chair. Decide what position is best for you. 
  • If comfortable, place your torso perpendicular to the floor.  
  • If you have more flexibility in your hamstrings, fold forward even more. Elongate the front of your spine.  
  • Either use the chair, bolster, blocks, or floor to either gently rest your forehead on or rest the crown (top) of your head upon. 
  • Prop-assistance. Place your heels either at the wall or as close to the wall as you can. Bend your knees if your hamstrings are tight. 
  • Position your upper calf muscles at the wall and gently press them into the wall.

Evenly balance opposing actions. 

  • If possible, place your hands on the front of your shins and resist your shins forward into your hands.  
  • Resist your thighs back towards the wall, encouraging internal rotation.   
  • Prop-assistance. Place each block in a diagonal position to rest up against your lower inner shins. Resist the shins into the blocks. 
  • Reposition your hands to your outer lower thighs and press out. 

Activate core energy and lower core strength. 

  • Squeeze your inner thighs together to encourage internal rotation of the thighs and to activate your abdominal muscles. 
  • Press down through your big toes, stretch out your other toes, and lift the arches on the bottom of your feet to activate power and strength in your legs. 

Activate the quadricep muscles to lengthen the hamstring muscles.

  • Activate and pull the quadricep muscles (front of the thighs) to the thigh bone (femur). This lifts your kneecaps up and helps to lengthen your hamstring muscles. 
  • Keep squeezing your inner thighs inward to engage your lower core muscles.

Breathe rhythmically and mindfully. If possible, remain in the pose long enough to feel the elevated positive emotion(s) you want to feel. 

Exit the pose with lower core strength and power.

  • To exit the pose return your torso to parallel with the floor. You may need to move your feet and hips away from the wall.
  • Remove the sandbags on your feet and blocks at your shins. 
  • Keep squeezing your inner thighs towards your midline (inwards) to engage your lower core muscles.
  • Place your hands on your hips and keep your abdominals engaged as you lift your torso upright to exit the pose. 

Once you are in the pose, go within. Breathe rhythmically and mindfully.

Pause and reflect. Decide how you want to feel while you are in the pose. Ask yourself these questions: What do you need to let go of (exhale)? What do you want to receive (inhale)? 

  • Exhale, and let go of what no longer serves you: pain, tension, tightness, anxiety, fear, sadness, lack, scarcity, insecurity, separation, and so forth. 
  • Infuse Yourself Now: Inhale, and feel what you want to bring into your future such as suppleness, flexibility, strength, freedom, joy, happiness, peace, vitality, loving-kindness, inclusivity, connection, unity, understanding, abundance, love, wealth, good health, and gratitude.
  • Breathe rhythmically and mindfully. If possible, remain in the pose long enough to feel the elevated positive emotion(s) you want to feel. 

How do I exit the pose? 

  • Inhale as you slowly exit the pose. Then, exhale once you are upright. 
  • Return to Mountain and feel the effects of the pose.

 

 

 

 

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