Free Your Mind – Paschimottanasana


I’m working on a post about yoga and what it means.

I thought that while I was at it, I’ll bring about world peace, cures for cancer and whatnot.

What started out as something interesting is now a series of run on sentences.

I’m annoyed.

I keep walking away from my Mac, reviewing the outline and even chatting with some friends about what I’m trying to accomplish.

Nothing helped.

Soooooo because my mind wanders like a baby learning to crawl, I thought about teaching yoga and saltines.

Don’t judge. In the elevator I did a forward bend and placed my mittened paws flat on the ground. Yum…I always exhale when I do this….

Because I was still thinking about teaching I floated to the hamstring battle so many students have.

The hamstrings  fight begins during warm-up. Instructed to relax, bend the legs, hang and sway people nstead keep the legs stick straight and try to push the thighs back into oblivion. Not only is it bad for you- it looks crazy.

There’s an aspect of letting go that’s required in order to release the hamstrings.

Did you know that we also carry our unconscious thoughts in the backs of our legs? Until you practice the action of releasing the backs of the legs as you engage your quads I may as well be speaking Swahili.

I speak from experience. Dandayamana bibhaktapada paschimotthanasana was a bear. Trying to breathe into the hamstrings and engage the front of my legs while shifting weight forward into the toes seemed- impossible.


But in yoga what you resist, persists.

I learned to close my eyes and let go of my muscles. I unclenched my hips, pelvis and booty. What do you know my head moved to the ground. I also began to breathe easier and se things with clarity.

In class, both when I practice and teach I can’t help but notice that when people move into paschimottanasana- groaning happens and breathing stops.

Can you imagine  simultaneously groaning and not breathing? It sucks.

A cue that I found useful is releasing pelvic muscles. When you aren’t squeezing you can move the weight forward to the toes and open the backs of the legs…

This pose is easier said than done, but easier once it’s done.

Oddly, this pose helps calm the mind, improve concentration and balance the prana or life energy.

It’s no mistake that I unconsciously moved into this pose in the elevator.

“This most excellent of all asanas, Paschimottanasana, makes the breath flow through the Sushumna, rouses the gastric fire, makes the loins lean, and removes all diseases.”

Hatha Yoga Pradipika Chapter 1 verse 29

My mind not surprisingly, is less muck-filled and focused. I’m excited to get back to work tonight, but first I’m off to class. I’m craving some heat and a nice forward bend.

This is yoga. And it’s my fire and muse.

Namaste y’all.

after hot yoga

9 thoughts on “Free Your Mind – Paschimottanasana

  1. I love that pose! Part of the reason is beacause I never imagined I could do it. The other part is because its like Im hugging myself 🙂

  2. Love this post! Had a similar experience in class last week, not specifically through poses, but through general realization…you might like my post about it, Dealing with Difficulty. Love your blog Oneika! 🙂

    1. Thanks Katie!!! I’ll definitely check out your post. It’s amazing how much we learn about ourselves through certain poses- more specifically reading about someone else’s experiences with them. Glad you like the blog, it means a lot!!!

      1. I really do! I like reading an instructor’s POV and seeing how it compares with mine as a student. I agree – every class is a learning experience 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s