Janu Sirsasana A: Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
From a seated position with legs extended forward, bend the right knee outward to a 90-degree angle and press the right foot into the inner left thigh. Grab the left shin or foot, inhale, square the hips, and lengthen the torso over the straight leg. Exhale, fold forward slowly from the groins. Extend the spine and lengthen through the chest. Keep your back long and flat; you want to avoid rounding of the back. Pull left toes back toward you and extend through the left heel while firmly pressing the right foot into the left thigh. Allow your sit bones to press down toward the floor. Stay here for 5 to 10 breath cycles and switch sides.
Benefits: Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings and groin. Calms the brain, relieves mild depression, reduces anxiety and fatigue, and alleviates headaches and insomnia. Therapeutic for high blood pressure.
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Supta Padangusthasana: Reclining Big Toe Pose
Lie on your back with arms along sides and extended legs activated. Rest your head on the floor. Inhale; bend the right knee and clasp the right big toe with right fingers. Place the left hand on top of the upper left thigh to stabilize the left leg down. Actively reach through the pointed toes. Exhale; straighten the right leg as far as your flexibility allows you to go. Inhale; lift the head up toward the right leg and keep the left leg down. Hold for five breath cycles, inhale head back down to the floor, and exhale right leg down. Switch sides.
Benefits: Stretches the hips, thighs, hamstrings, groins and calves. Strengthens the knees. Relieves backache and sciatica. Therapeutic for high blood pressure.