by Kara-Leah Grant
Welcome to the fifth article and video in this series of Yoga Explorations.
You’ve now learned how to spontaneously allow the body to move within the structure of a posture, as well as two breath pairs – the Ascending and Descending breath, and cultivating the core and radiating from the core breath.
Last week you learned how to use core cultivation to open the body in Lunges and Lunge variations.
This week, we take a look at the Wide-Legged Forward Bend and ways to open and release through the hips, spine and legs using variations and breath awareness.
It’s easy to get stuck in a wide-legged forward bend, especially if your pelvis isn’t yet hinging smoothly forward.
That’s the first key action that has to take place in the body – the pelvis has to hinge forward rotating over top of the femur bones. This allows the spine to move instead of getting all hunched up and stuck.
I take a look at how using micro-bends in the knees can be useful for creating the space the pelvis needs to hinge forward. Always think about your hip bones moving down towards the top of your thighs.
But that’s not the only way to play in Wide-Legged Forward Bends. We also go over Seaweed Spine – one of my all-time favourites for releasing holding patterns in the body, and we take a look at the mutant child of Downward Dog and Wide Legged Forward Bends.
All of this adds up to a whole lot more awareness of what’s going on in our body when you bend forward.
As I note in the video, it’s not just about releasing your hamstrings. All kinds of body parts get in on the action in a forward bend – even the ankles!
By the end of this play and exploration, you’ll find that your forward bend has opened up in new and wonderful ways. At least, that’s what I hope you find!
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Video Exploration #5 with Kara-Leah Grant
How to Open Your Wide Legged Forward Bends using Variations
Now you’ve watched the video, here’s your Om-Work for the Week
Week #5 Om-Work: Take what you learned from:
- Week #1 – Tadasana and Uttanasana,
- Week #2 – Plankasana, Chaturanga Dandasana, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana,
- Week #3 – Downward Dog and Three-Legged Dog,
- Week #4 to it – Lunge, Lizard and Twisting Lunge
- And add Week #5 – Wide-Legged Forward Bend and Variations to it.
Phew! It sounds like a lot… but if you’ve been extending the sequence each week and doing it every day, you’ll find it flows naturally.
Remember, explore different ways of putting this flow together – make the sequence your own. Be playful. Have fun. Take your time.
Focus on creating space through your hip joints and playing with the dynamic tensions of the ascending breath through the legs and the descending breath through the torso.
See what happens if you switch and find the ascending breath up the spine and the descending breath down the legs and through the feet into the ground.
Finally, start by going slowly through each posture, taking time to explore and play, surrendering to the flow of breath and allowing your body to open and move as it needs. Do it this way for the first round, but maybe do subsequent rounds with just one breath per pose.
In the end though, t’s your practice. Make it up!
Do this every day this week.
You may end up going on to do more postures. Or you may just go into shavasana afterwards.
Any questions, please leave a comment and I’ll respond. It’s likely that if you have that question, other people do too.