As always, the most important thing to think about when doing poses that have a forward bending element to them is where the fold is happening. This should be at the hip crease and not at the waist. In each of the forward poses,go through the following stages:
- With the back long and wide, and not pushing forward, fold at the hips as far as you can before the point comes when you need to round the back and shorten the front.
- Once you get to that point, keep the sides of the torso lengthening towards the head as you proceed. Do not allow the torso to slump back towards the hips.
- If necessary, do your straight-leg poses with the knees bent to keep the headward length of the torso.
Very often we grip in the glutes and the lower back without realizing it. This has the effect of pulling the torso down and gripping the hips. In all your poses consider the following:
- Find your inner thighs and allow them to support you.
- With that support, soften the buttocks and the lower back.
- Soften and widen outwards across your hip creases and lengthen both sides of the waist evenly. Soften your inner thighs towards your knees.
- Widen your sitting bones. As you do so, take care not to pull them sharply away from your knees as this can put pressure on your hamstring attachments. Those who are particularly flexible in the hamstrings or the lower back should take care of over-doing this. Try and keep your sitting bones connected to your heels and reaching away from your head instead.