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August Yoga Pose of the Month- Seated Forward Bend

Pose of the month
Seated Forward Bend 
Paschimottanasana- (PAH-shee-moh-tun-AHS-uh-nuh) 

Seated forward bend is a very calming and grounding pose that helps relieve stress and stretches the entire back of the body. 

How to get into the pose

Sit on the floor with a long, straight back, abs engaged and legs stretched out in front of you with your toes flexed towards you.
Inhale to extend your arms up towards the sky.
Exhale as you fold forward from your hip joints.
Hold on to your feet, ankles or calves, whatever is available to you.
Keep your spine long and straight (don’t round your back).
Keep your shoulders relaxed and your spine long.
Inhale as you lengthen through the spine and torso.
Exhale as you fold a little deeper, letting your belly come to your legs first then your chest and then your nose and head.
With each breather in see if you can lengthen a little more.
With each breath out see if you can fold a little more deeply.
Hold for 5 - 10 breathes.
To come out of the pose inhale as you reach the tailbone into the earth and lift your torso back up.

Modifications and Variations

To reduce the intensity in the back of the legs, bend your knees a little.
If the hamstrings are tight, place a folded blanket or block under your sits bones for support.
Use a strap around your feet with arms extended and slowly walk the hands up the ends of the strap as you keep your spine long and chest lifted.
To deepen the pose, place a block at the soles of your feet and hold onto the edges of the block or clasp your hands around the soles of your feet.

Benefits of Seated Forward Bend

Stretches the shoulders, spine and hamstrings.
Calms the mind and relieves stress.
Massages and stimulates the internal organs.
Improves digestion.

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