Parsvottanasana / Single Leg fwd bend

Benefits: Opens hip and shoulder joints.  Strong stretch for the back of the legs, gently contracts the abdominal organs.

Step by Step

1.   From Downward Facing Dog, step the right foot forward next to the right hand.

2. Straighten the right leg as you step the left foot forward so that the feet are about three feet apart.  The left foot is facing forward with sole flat on the floor.

3.  Bring the torso upright and make sure the hips are squared towards the front of the mat.

4.  Inhale and lengthen the spine.

5.  Take the hands behind the back and bring the palms together (in prayer – namaste position), or keep arms behind your back and grab opposite elbows or if you prefer keep arms straight, inhale them upwards.

6.  On an exhalation, hinge at the hips to fold forward.  Stop when the torso is parallel to the floor.  If arms are straight bring your hands to the floor on either side of the right foot, or onto blocks if they don’t reach the floor.  Press the thighs back and lengthen the torso forward.

7.  Hold your torso and head parallel to the floor for a few breaths.  On each inhale, lengthen the spine.  On each exhale, take the forward bend a little deeper.  To keep the body in balance, repeat on the left side.