Written by Nina Isabella
This continues to be one of my favourite postures. Deeply restorative, nourishing and refreshing; for me time spent in a fully supported forward bend is the chai of my yoga practice!
For women in the second half of pregnancy, all supported forward bends help you to offer gravitational messages to your child. Encouraging the heaviest part of your baby’s body to rotate toward your belly, so your child can more readily take a favourable position for birth.
To Set Up
Start by sitting in easy cross-legged position; place a chair within arm’s reach with the seat facing you. Sit with padding under your backside and place folded blankets or cushions under each thigh to support the full weight of your legs.
Sit upright, shifting the flesh away from your sitting bones, roll your shoulders let them rest broad and heavy. Start to feel yourself tall and comfortable through your torso, firmly anchored to the ground through the lower half of your body – feel tadasana (the mountain pose) present in your posture.
Bring the chair in front of you, close to your crossed legs. Place your hands on the seat of the chair take a big breath in, elongating your spine, sustain this length as you hinge forward from your hips, slowly breathing out – this is a very shallow forward bend. Place your upper arms on the seat, lace your fingers to make a pad out of your thumbs, tuck in your chin and rest your forehead on to the base of your thumbs.
Take the first few moments to settle in, make any adjustments you need to be able to rest here comfortably for the next few minutes.
To release, place your hands on the seat, take a steady inhalation and lift your torso upright. Pause for a few moments, giving yourself time to appreciate the influence of the practice. When you’re ready, extend your legs, shake them out, cross them the other way and return to the pose.
Seated on a chair. This variation is great for everyone, especially if you are experiencing pelvic girdle pain or diagnosed with pelvic instability. Sit on a chair with your feet hip-width apart and close to a table. Practice pose as above, with your elbows resting on the table.
While You’re Bending Forward
The benefits of this supported forward bend are experienced through the essentially passive process of surrendering to gravity. So while you’re here, refine your practice:
- Breathe into your spine, feeling the rythmic rise and fall of your breath along your back.
- Gently extend your exhalations and yield to the gentle pull of gravity with each out-breath.
- Consciously soften the muscles of your face, particularly the frown lines, cheeks, skin around eyes
- Release tension from your jaw
- Surrender the weight of your head
- Feel your neck, shoulders and chest soften
- Soften through your whole upper body, particularly your abdomen
- Breathe softness into the muscles supporting your backside and release the entire weight of your legs
- Take the opportunity for Self inquiry – can I yield to find a place of safety within myself?
I encourage you to immerse, yield, surrender to this delightful practice and enjoy the respite and the clarity it has to offer.
yoga for birth :: birth support
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