Fully Bound Forward Fold
In ancient times, before a student of yoga was given the physical poses to practice they had to prime their internal landscape. This was done through 10 behavioral adaptations known and the Yamas (virtuous restraints) and the Niyamas (virtuous observances). Today’s devoted yogis do not wait until they have mastered the Yamas and Niyamas to do the physical poses. This definitely has its disadvantages. However, the physical postures of yoga, called asana, sometimes are fantastic teachers, shedding light on a certain Yama or Niyama. This asana, Bound Forward Fold, is one such pose. Svadhyaya (svad-yah-yah) is one of the five virtuous observances of Yoga known as Niyamas. Svadhyaya means self-study or introspection. This version of forward fold creates a cradle for the forehead. That, combined with crossed arms and legs, forces the awareness deep into the self, creating a warm, guarded space. This sense of security offers one the opportunity to peer inwards and learn something new about them self.
What to do
From a standing position, cross your left leg in front of the right.
Reach your arms strait in front of you and place the left elbow BELOW the right.
Bend the elbows and hold the right wrist with the left fingers.
On an exhale, bend the knees slightly as you fold forward.
Rest elbows on the thigh or the knees.
Allow the head to be cradled.
Breathe deeply and simply observe the inner workings of your mind as if they were an interesting book.
Stay for 5-10 breaths.
Push the feet into the floor and exhale to stand up.
Stand in mountain pose for a few breaths.
Repeat the process with the opposite arm and leg arrangements.
Can be done in a chair.
Slows the mind.
Opens the outer hips and back of the shoulders.
Fosters a nourished opening of the heart.
Stokes internal fire.
Creates space of introspection.