Today's entry is Part 2 of our 4-Part Opening & Release Series. The focus of this home yoga practice is your back.
The Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana) is a basic yoga posture that help you to find and feel relief in your lower back. It can also help with release of tension in your neck and shoulders.
Start by standing in Mountain Pose. Stand very tall with a lengthened spine to begin the process of creating space in your back. Inhale to extend your arms overhead. this is Extended Mountain Pose. Hold this pose for 3-5 breaths. This, too, will continue that lengthening process.
Inhale again to grow even taller then Swan Dive forward and downward. Feel free to keep your knees bent as much as you need to. By bending your knees, you will be able to main a flat back as you descend forward to touch your toes. At the end of the picture with your hands or finger tips touching the ground, your back will curve naturally. In this posture with gravity assisting you, you may experience a delightful stretch rough your lower back. Allow your head to hang heavily, too. This will help to release any tightness you may be holding in your neck and shoulders. If it feels good, gently twist left and right to add more of a release sensation in your low back and hips.
To ascend, lift your head and extend forward to re-lengthen your spine. Complete a full inhale to return to a standing posture with your arms over head. Exhale to bring your arms down to your sides. Repeat this sequence one more time.
If you need more relief to your back, repeat the home practice described in the "Back Massage" blog entry.
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