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(Standing) Backward Bend

"I am free! I am free!"


From tadasana, step your left foot straight back about 2-3 feet. Turn your left foot out very slightly, and bring your left hip forward so your entire pelvis faces forward. Tuck your pelvis to protect your lower back.

Bend your right knee and bring it directly over your right ankle. Tuck your pelvis. Keeping your lower body stationary, inhale and circle your arms out to your sides and overhead/ lengthening your spine and lifting through your heart into a gentle backward bend. Bring your palms together. As you exhale, soften your elbows and relax your shoulders down away from your ears, shoulder blades releasing down your back. Lead the bend with your heart, opening your chest and shoulders while keeping your pelvis tucked and shoulder blades apart.

Keep your neck long, bending it no more than the rest of your spine (i.e., don't tilt your head way back). Keep your shoulder blades apart, and shoulders relaxed. Gaze softly upward.

Breathe smoothly and naturally as you hold the pose and affirm mentally, "I am free! I am free!"

To exit, on an inhalation, straighten your right leg and lengthen your spine back to vertical as you stretch upward through your arms. On the exhalation, circle your arms slowly back down to your sides, maintaining openness in your chest. Step your left foot forward into tadasana.

Pause to integrate the effects of the pose, then repeat to the other side.