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Pose spotlight: Prasarita Padottasana (intense spread leg stretch)

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Prasarita Padottasana (intense spread leg stretch) is a great way to stretch your hamstrings and inner thigh (adductor) muscles.

To perform this pose:

Take a ujjayi breath against the back of your throat and maintain this quality of breath throughout your practice.

Stand in front of your mat with your feet wide apart and parallel. You can pigeon-toe your feet if your back or hamstrings are very tight.

Position your palms shoulder distance and make sure they are parallel. 

Press all four corners of each foot down evenly to lift the arches and ankles up.

Contract your quadriceps and lift your knee caps.

Lift your inner thighs and hamstrings upward. Your knee caps should face forward. Don’t let your knees collapse internally. 

Lift the pelvis up off the legs and tilt over fronts of the thighs as you release forward.

Shift your body weight slightly forward to keep the hips over your heels. Keep the sitting bones level. 

Lengthen your torso towards the floor. Elongate from the waist through the crown of the heart. You can practice this pose with either your back straight or with your back slightly rounded and with your head tucked under.

Lift the tops of your shoulder away from your ears, towards your waist. Keep your collarbones wide and your chest open. 

Place your hands flat on the floor between or slightly behind your feet so that your elbows stack over your wrists. Press your index fingers and thumbs down into the mat.

Draw your elbows in until your upper arms are parallel. Roll your outer arm towards the inner elbow to widen the area between your shoulder blades. Keep your kneck long.

Place the crown of your head on the floor or use a block for support. Alternatively, shift slightly toward the back of your head. Bend your knees slightly to keep the spine long.

 

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