Throughout this pose, mentally affirm: "Waves of harmony surge up my spine."
Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Separate them into a wide angle. Now, bring one foot in and place it near your crotch.
Inhale while raising your hands upwards along the sides of your chest. Now exhale and slowly bend forward, reaching your hands to your outstretched foot. Grasp the foot with your hands and bring your forehead as close to your knee as possible without straining. If you cannot grasp your foot, grasp your ankle or calf.
Relax the base of your spine and the side of your back opposite the outstretched leg. As you progressively relax within the pose, your stretch will deepen. Be sure to keep your spine straight throughout this pose.
Repeat on the other side.
**If you have back problems, don't try to put your head to your knee, simply keep your back straight and look straight ahead as you reach for your foot.
- Stretches and relaxes the calves and hamstrings.
- Strengthens and stretches the back muscles.
- Improves posture.
- Provides relief for the kidneys and adrenal glands and generally calms the nervous system.
- Loosens the hips, knees and legs.
- The gentle abdominal squeeze in this stretch aids digestion.
- This pose brings balance by stimulating energy on both sides of the body and brain.
- It stimulates the Svadisthana chakra (navel or second energy chakra), which is related to courage and the relationship with the self.
Holding the Pose
Maintaining a yoga pose provides many benefits. When doing a pose quickly you not only run the risk of injury but it negates the positive benefits that can be derived from the pose.
While you are in a pose, focus on relaxing and breathing, as well as the increased blood flow, flow of energy through your nervous system, the gentle stretching of the muscles and tendons and a release of built up energy from various parts of the body. By focusing on these changes, you enable them to happen more fluidly. You will feel different sensations the longer you are in a pose.