Sit in padmasana. Close the eyes. Hold the hands behind the back in the way described in variations 1, 2 and 3 under the previous heading. This is the starting position. Relax the whole body. Breathe slowly and deeply. Then inhale deeply. Exhale while slowly bending the trunk forwards. Try to touch your forehead on the ground in front of your body; if this is impossible, merely bend forwards as far as you can comfortably. This is the final pose. Relax the whole body, especially the back, as much as possible. Breathe slowly and deeply, feeling the expansion and contraction of the abdomen. Stay in the final position for as long as you can. Then slowly raise the body to the starting position, while breathing in. This is the basic technique.
The breathing should be synchronized with the physical movement during yoga mudrasana. This is important. For clarity, the breathing sequence is listed below.
Breathe normally in the starting position, while relaxing the mind and body. Then inhale deeply once before bending forwards. Exhale as you lean forwards. Breathe deeply and slowly in the final pose. Inhale as you return to the starting position.
There are useful variations to the basic technique. They are as follows:
Variation 1: ideal for beginners
Same as basic method, except that the breath is held for a short duration in the final pose, after which the body is returned to the starting position. That is, instead of staying in the final pose, the body is lowered and raised a number of times. This is particularly useful for those people who have a stiff body and who cannot touch the floor with their forehead. Take care that the physical movement is synchronized with breathing.
Variation 2: for elongating the spine
This technique can be practised by those people who can touch their foreheads to the floor. Take the final pose of yoga mudrasana as described in the basic technique. Immobilize the body and inhale. While exhaling, try to touch the floor with the chin and push it away from the body. Immobilize the body and inhale. Exhale and again try to push the chin as far as possible away from the body. Repeat this procedure. Don’t strain. Then relax the whole body and remain in the final pose breathing slowly and deeply. After a comfortable period of time return to the starting position while inhaling.
Variation 3: for optimum massage of the abdomen
This variation is ideal for those people who suffer from wind, constipation or various other abdominal ailments. Place the hands in front of the body in the way described in the previous heading ‘Position of Hands’ for alternative 4. That is, the fists should be placed on top of the upturned heels, the right fist on the left sole and the left fist on the right sole. The method is exactly the same as given for the basic technique. This variation gives a powerful compression of the abdomen though it does not stretch the back as much as the other techniques.
Leg joint realignment exercises
After completing yoga mudrasana or padmasana the leg joints tend to lock. If you straighten your legs too quickly you might experience pain or injure your joints. This seems to apply to some individuals, and not to others. Therefore, you should take great care to slowly unfold your legs from padmasana, allowing the joints to realign themselves.
When the legs are straightened in front of the body, ‘there may still be stiffness. The best way to remove this is to slowly bend each leg in turn, so that the knee comes towards the chest. You can do this once or twice with each leg. If
- you hear a slight cracking don’t worry, for this is merely the joints clicking into position. If you hear a crunching sound, however, then
- you can start worrying, but this is most unlikely to happen if you carefully follow the advice we have given.
If you wish, you can also rotate your feet from the ankles a number of times to remove stiffness in this region, or gently move the legs up and down, keeping the heels on the floor.