Prasarita Padottanasana C is just a fancy way of saying “Wide Leg Forward Fold” with an added shoulder stretch.
STEP 1. Facing the long way on your mat, take a wide stance. Make sure your feet are parallel to one another.
STEP 2. Press down through the inside arch of the foot.
STEP 3. Lift your knee caps to your quads.
STEP 4. Engage your glutes and pull your navel to your spine.
STEP 5. Interlace the hands behind you or bring them to your hips.
STEP 6. Lift your chest up on an inhale and fold forward on an exhale.
FORWARD being the keyword.
STEP 7. Bring the hands to the floor or on blocks if the floor is not accessible. Yogis with tight hamstrings, consider bending your knees.
STEP 8. If you chose to interlace the hands and the head touches the floor with ease, move the head further back and work on getting the hands to touch the floor.
STEP 9. To come out of the pose, lift half way up on an inhale, making sure the lower half of your body is resembling cat pose. On an exhale, place your hands on your hips making sure the elbows are facing the ceiling. Stand up the rest of the way.
STEP 10. For those doing Prasarita Padottanasana C, root your feet down and rise up keeping the hands interlaced the whole time.
THE BREATH OF LIFE
“The deeper we exhale, the greater is our capacity to inhale new, fresh air.” B.K.S. Iyengar
Two years ago, I spent most of my year traveling and teaching yoga. I started to notice that as soon as I returned and stepped back into LAX, the energy of Los Angeles was one of anxiety and chaos mixed with some anger. It is an overpopulated city where a fight over a parking space or allowing someone in your lane on the freeway results in one person hammering on their horn for 10 minutes while the other throws up the middle finger and relentlessly honks back. The city as a whole needs to exhale.
We all need to exhale before we end up being the crazy person going loco in a public place and unraveling in front of everyone. Be honest, we have all been there at least once. As a human being, you can only hold on and hold on for so long. But if there is no letting go process in place, the body and the mind will eventually do a forced reboot. For me, this happened last Tuesday, and I learned an important lesson that day.
The opposite of exhalation would be inhalation. As much as exhales are for “letting go” inhales are about allowing yourself to “receive” while trusting and letting your life unfold. We can receive and draw in energy from the earth, from our environment. Our inhalation allows us to empty the thinking mind so we can live in the present moment, instead of spiraling with thoughts of past and present. The trick is to find the balance of both–inhales and exhales. Letting go and receiving, so we can flow freely through any obstacles placed in our day and lives. In reality, you’re one step ahead if you have just the awareness, which then allows you to fully practice these concepts.
I realized that I needed to give up control for wanting things to be a certain way and just accept the present moment exactly how it is without the desire to change it. The bigger lesson was in understanding that I need to allow myself to “receive.” I’m good at being of service but I have a very much “I’ve-got-this” attitude. The truth is, I don’t always “got this.” I’m going to work on allowing myself to ask for help when needed and to allow myself to receive from my community as I continue to be of service and give.
As you take time to reflect on this, what do you need more of in your life? If it is the need to “let go,” do you have a process for this work to take place? You must not only acknowledge the need but also take action to do something about it. If you need to “receive,” then investigate where from and how you go about creating this?
“Don’t run away from heavy emotions: Honor the anger, give pain the space it needs to breathe. This is how we let go.” Young Pueblo