For yogis of varied ages and physical conditions, poses that fold and draw one inwards bring feelings of calm and relaxation. At the same time, these poses can seem challenging because they can create significant sensations of stretching. A feeling of stretch means that muscles are opening and the body is finding more space. Pain is a warning sign from the body; it means "ease up, back off a bit."
Seated Forward Bend, a classic folding pose, is a great example of all of the above. Young yogis can find calm and greater ease in the pose, while also having fun with the challenge of stretching and gradually increasing flexibility. The pose can even begin to help them learn the difference between stretching (good) and pain (not good). It's almost never too young to begin learning how to draw inwards and look inside -- as well as skills for finding calm in difficult moments.
Pose: Seated Forward Bend
Ages: all ages
Mantra: I am calm.
1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you with toes pointing up.
2. Reach your arms up toward the sky, and as you do lift your chest taller too.
3. Fold forward at the hips. Rest the forehead toward the knees.
4. Reach your hands for your toes, or anywhere along the legs that feels comfortable.
5. Breathe deeply and relax, holding as long as comfortable.
Poses to lead up to it -- Turtle Pose, Flower Pose, Crab Pose
Poses to follow it -- Bound Angle Pose, Seated Twist, Easy Seat / "Criss-Cross Applesauce" and Belly Breathing
Fun with the pose in a group -- Create a blooming flower with everyone together in a circle folding, and then unfolding; everyone bends towards a flower to smell it, for a favorite treat or towards their friends across the circle