Y-20 Backward and Forward Bend

This posture may be made dynamically at first and then held as a static posture as one becomes more flexible. From the «relaxed standing position» with the feet together, clasp your hands behind your back (with the fingers interlocked so they are between the hands).

Inhaling, stretch back arching the neck, shoulders and upper back; squeeze the shoulders together so as to release shoulder and neck tension. This should be done slowly and cautiously so as not to lose your balance or become dizzy. Hold this position for some seconds while holding your breath, then begin to exhale and come forward with the back held straight and the engaged arms coming up over the head.

Now with the head down exhale some more and contract the abdomen so that you come down a bit more.

If you are making a «dynamic posture», then, when you feel the need for air, begin to come up slowly (inhaling) keeping the spine straight. You can repeat this several times.

In the «static version», remaining hanging downward, breathing with the abdomen – close the eyes and keep the concentration on the neck and shoulders – feel the stretch created by your overhanging arms.

After some time, release your arms and let them hang loosely towards the floor. Keep your eyes closed and now put your «inner body awareness» on the parts of your body which are painful or resisting your further movement (in this case, most likely your legs or lower back). Don’t resist the pain but try to accept the condition of these areas and send messages to them to relax. When your chest comes easily to your thighs you may take your ankles with your hands and draw yourself more closely to your knees.

Remain in this position for at least 30 seconds, increasing up to three minutes as you develop.

People with spinal problems should avoid this posture until they consult their yoga teacher and doctor.

Contraindications: Serious lower back problems, High blood pressure, detached retina,

Benefits: This posture is very similar to the «Forward Stretching Posture» and is an excellent preparation for it. And, correspondingly, it has many of the same benefits. The head, eyes, neck and shoulders receive an extra supply of food, oxygen and nutrients. They are relaxed and rejuvenated. The spine is fully stretched and aligned for proper flow of nervous energy and prana throughout the body.

The leg muscles are stretched and much digestive tension which locates there is released. (Much of the pain and tension we feel in our legs is an indication of digestive imbalances – excess toxins). The compressed position of the abdomen stimulates the organs of digestion contributing to their efficient functioning.

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