Yoga pose of the week: Wide-legged forward bend/Prasarita padottanasana

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What you do:

1. Stand up straight and step your feet apart about three feet. Rest your hands on your hips with your inner feet parallel to each other.  

2. Exhale and, maintaining the length of the front torso, lean the torso forward from the hip joints. As your torso approaches parallel to the floor, press your fingertips to the floor directly below your shoulders. Extend your elbows fully. Bring your head up, keeping the back of the neck long, and direct your gaze upward toward the ceiling.

3. Push your top thighs straight back to help lengthen the front torso. Take a few breaths and walk your fingertips between your feet. Take a few more breaths and then, with an exhalation, bend your elbows and lower your torso and head into a full forward bend. Make sure as you move down that you keep your front torso as long as possible.

4. Press your inner palms actively into the floor, fingers pointing forward. If you have the flexibility, walk your hands back. Be sure to keep your arms parallel to each other and widen the shoulder blades across the back. Draw your shoulders away from your ears. Hold for one minute.

— Pose courtesy of Stephanie Knutsson/Bodyism Yoga instructor


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