Ever feel a little stuck when you try a forward fold posture? Like your bones get in the way. Or, your spine is compressing? Or, your tissues can’t figure out how to stretch that way?
This Thai Yoga Massage move helps with all that. Letting your partner move you into position, your body completely passive, then use compression to release the adhesions in the tissues and open space in the joints is a delicious thing. And your body will remember this next time you do it on your own and take you into your fold with so much more ease.
So, grab your partner and let’s get to it!
How to do the Forward Fold Pose:
- Step into a lunge, with your front let to one side of your seated partner.
- It can be really nice to place a pillow on your partner’s lap or on the floor in front of them to support their natural (in)flexibility here.
- Guide them into a forward dold, stopping when you feel resistance and extending their arms forward.
- To palm back: Work from the low back upward, press with hands on either side of the spine simultaneously. Pressing down AND toward head to deepen fold while elongating the spine.
- To palm legs, place your hands on the thighs near to the hips and lean in, release, move your hands closer to the knees and repeat.
- To exit: Pull shoulder with one hand while pushing low back with the other hand and your partner should pop right up without effort on their part.
Benefits: opens the hips and low back, elongates the spine.
Cautions: This can be challenging for the receiver’s knees and ankles if they are cross-legged, in which case you can do the pose with legs extended. This make the pose less of a hip stretch and more of a hamstring stretch (and you won’t be able to palm the thighs) but it will still be beneficial.
**TIPS: *If your partner is very flexible, place a pillow between their thighs and belly. * I have not found that it is terribly important to switch legs and do this pose again. That said, leaving someone asymetrical can sometimes offend their sensibilities and leave their mind agitated. If you have a partner like this, always do the other side! *This pose can also be done with your partner’s legs extended. This version will stretch the hamstrings more, which can be very desireable. If using this version of the pose, there is no need for the thigh press (in fact, it will be very awkward :-).
YOGA TEACHERS: This is a marvelous addition to your hands-on assist repertoire. As always, ask first ;-).
This is a standard Sukhasana forward fold but the elongation of the spine here is something you can work on in any forward fold (even standing forward folds). Try the above Thai Yoga Massage pose with a partner to get the “feel” of the spinal elongation. Remember this. Now, come into the pose on your own. Working with your breath, use your inhales to elongate the spine from the sacrum all the way to the head. Use the memory of your partner creating the elongation to help with this. Use your exhales to sink into the pose, as if your partner were pressing your back. Placing a sandbag or two on your back can help you with this, too. Mmmm…. luscious!
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