How to protect yourself in purvottanasana

Intense stretch to the east, purvottanasana, is an advanced yoga pose but can be done by beginners with some modifications.

It’s worth becoming familiar with this asana, due to thyroid healing effects and heart opening benefits, so, take a deep breath and sit down in dandasana, the staff pose, close your eyes, and prepare for the coming movement. Begin by visualizing the front part of your body as the direction east, the place of the rising sun, and new beginnings. For this reason it is an ideal pose to do in the morning as you contemplate rebirth and the possibilities that lay ahead in your day…

Slide your hands, fingers slightly forward, about a foot behind your buttocks and on the next inhale lift your entire body into a table position. Caution. Protect your neck by keeping it level with the floor, or even better, slightly tilted upwards as you gaze down the length of your torso.

Purvottanasana

Purvottanasana – Intense Stretch to the East

Adjust your feet to take the pressure off your knees. Stay in this position, especially as a beginner, only as long as is comfortable for you. Simply come to the edge of your comfort level and breathe into it. It’s not a competition. Be kind to yourself and keep breathing into your belly, ribs, and upper chest.

If you want to complete the full pose then one leg at a time, stretch out until you look like a plank. Always remember to protect your neck in any yoga asana. The best way to do this is to listen to your body and notice any rising tension that feels uncomfortable. If this occurs gently tilt the chin toward the chest and continue observing and listening to your body.

Perhaps this full extension is too much for your tight shoulders. If this is the case find a couch or sturdy chair on a non slip surface and rest your hands on it to complete the pose.
By regularly practicing purvottanasana, the shoulders will become more limber, but to avoid undue stiffness, don’t rush it. To quote Jerry Garcia, his ashes resting peacefully in the Ganges, “all good things in all good time”.

Reflection:
The sun shines its rays equally on all beings and things. It shares warmth and light unconditionally and dispels darkness without judgment. How can you benefit from this example of equanimity?

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