That’s what autumn is made of for me! And as the leaves fall from the trees outside my window to reveal a view of the Manhattan skyline, they signal a change is coming. It’s during these seasonal transitions that there’s no better time to practice our second major category of poses, forward folds. (To learn more about the first major category, inversions, click here.)
In forward folds, you do just that, fold your body forward at the hip. They can be standing, seated, or supported. In Salamba Balasana, or Supported Child’s Pose, we also bend at the knees to create a trifold with our bodies. To name a few benefits, forward folds relieve tension in the hips, thighs, and lower back. Their shape provides an opportunity for introspection, a time to embody gratitude for the blessings you received during one season and set your intentions for the next.
What you’ll need:
- 2 rectangular bolsters or 6 rectangular bed pillows
- At least 3 blankets
Note: If you’re using pillows instead of bolsters, divide the pillows into 2 stacks of 3 pillows each. When the directions mention one bolster, substitute one stack of pillows.
Strike this pose:
- Fold a blanket in half and spread it on the ground.
- Place a bolster in the middle of the blanket.
- Sit across the short end of the bolster.
- Rest your knees, shins and the tops of your feet on the blanket you spread on the ground.
- Stack the second bolster on top of the bottom bolster and pull it towards your pelvis.
- Inhale and sit tall.
- Exhale and fold forward from your hips.
- Turn your head to one side and rest it and your chest on the bolster.
- Close your eyes.
- Relax your arms beside you.
- Your muscles will remain activated until they feel fully supported. Scan your body for any areas of lingering tension where you need additional support. For example)
- Tension in your neck? Add a blanket under your head
- Shoulders or arms? Add a blanket under each arm
- Knees or hips? Add a blanket under your seat
- Once you’re comfortable, relax your face, jaw, hands, fingers and enjoy.
- Stay in the pose for 10 minutes, turning your head to the other side halfway through.
- When you’re finished, inhale and push your hands into the ground to slowly lift your torso.
- For a moment, sit on the end of the bolster with your eyes closed and your head bowed to seal your practice. Namaste.