Benefits and Uses
The seated wide-legged forward fold opens the hips and stretches the back and thighs. The supported (restorative) version, is less intense than a regular wide-legged forward fold and allows pregnant women to do the pose without having to hold up their back.
Sit on your mat and separate your legs as much as feels comfortable. Place a bolster or stack of blankets or pillows in between your legs (this will support your torso and belly as you come forward). Inhale deeply in order to prepare for the pose, and on your exhale slowly walk your hands out in front of you, bringing your torso down as far as it wants to go, supported by the bolster. Try to let your props hold you up instead of your back strength, which will defeat the purpose of the relaxation element of the pose. Avoid placing any strain on your neck but rather let your head rest on your props. The purpose of the pose is not to see how far down you can go, but rather to relax into the pose. You can even let your bag round (which is commonly avoided in other types of yoga) if that helps relaxation. Stay in the pose for up to five minutes, or whatever is comfortable for you.
- Modifications: This pose may give you intense sensation and stretch in your legs and back. If the intensity is too much, simply keep your torso further upright by placing higher padding underneath. Place a folded blanket under your buttocks in order to elevate the pelvis and give it a natural tilt. This will help your back to feel long and should help to alleviate any strain. If you have a lower back injury or pain, always use a blanket under your buttocks and keep your torso further upright.
- Breath: Breathing deeply in this pose will help you to relax into any sensations you may be feeling, as opposed to resisting them. Ujjayi and dirgha breath can be used in this pose, as well as regular deep inhalations and exhalations.
- Release: When you feel ready to come out of the pose, slowly walk your hands back under your torso, using your arm strength to lift your upper body. You may want to give your legs a little shake in order to wake them up. Feel free to make any movements or adjustments you need in order to sit comfortably and breathe into the benefits of the pose. Notice any changes in your mind or body.