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.

Quotes

The Buddha reminds us of the right approach in his famous metaphor of the raft from the Majjhima Nikaya.

In it, he describes a situation, where a man standing on the near shore, which is dangerous, needs to get to the far shore, which is safe.

There are no bridges or ferries so he builds a raft; it is not fancy, but adequate to get him across. Once on that far shore it has served its purpose, and a wise man leaves it where it is, without dragging it with him as an encumbrance.

— Buddha