Ardha Uttanasana / half-intense stretch

(standing forward bend)

Take a chair and some yoga blocks (or large books) and a firm blanket (cotton if possible).

* Place blocks on to the chair seat at mid-thigh height and a neatly folded blanket on top.
* Face the chair seat with the back furthest from you.
* Place your hands on to the top of the chair’s back rest with palms facing one another, little finger side of the hand facing down.
* Step your feet back from the chair so that hips are above your ankles (ankles are fractionally farther back than your hips).
* Rest the forehead on the lift on the seat.
* Lift the knee caps up and pull the top of the thigh bones back.
* Pull the front body towards the chair in opposition to the legs.
* Keep the side ribs in and breast bone forwards.
* If the back is dipped and ribs jut towards the floor, make sure that the shoulders are not over stretched at the back.
* Ensure the little finger side of the hands are parallel to the floor.
* If the back is humped up towards the ceiling, increase the height of the lift (and chair back if possible).
* Stretch the front body forwards, legs backwards.
* Keep the outer hips in and inner groins up.
* Stay for 10 to 20 breaths.
* Come up by walking towards the chair.

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The Absolute

No mind, no form, I only exist;
Now ceased all will and thought;
The final end of Nature’s dance,
I am it whom I have sought.

A realm of Bliss bare, ultimate;
Beyond both knower and known;
A rest immense I enjoy at last;
I face the One alone.

— Sri Chinmoy