Patchimottanasana/Seated Forward Bend Ambitious yogis – all good things must come to an end. As we wind down what has been an amazing year of fun, games and amazing workouts, we will also begin the cool down phase of our Ambitious yoga sequence. This month’s pose is a great hamstring, spine and shoulder stretch that allows the body to relax after an active series of poses.

After all of the hard work you’ve put in this year at Ambitious Athletics, don’t you think you deserve a little R&R? Enjoy taking things easy over the next couple of weeks. To get you started, here is Patchimottanasana/Seated Forward Bend:

Patchimottanasana/Seated Forward Bend

Patchimottanasana/Seated Forward Bend

1. From standing, move down to the floor and come to a seated position with your legs fully extended in front of you, heels, ankles and big toes touching. If your hamstrings feel very tight, you can always keep a little bend in the knees throughout the pose.

2. On your inhale, extend the arms up toward the ceiling and hold this position for a couple of breaths. Feel the core working to keep you upright.

3. As you exhale, begin to bend forward, hinging at the hips and reach for your feet. If you have tight hamstrings, grabbing for the feet may not be possible. In this case, feel free to use a yoga strap or belt as an extension of the arms by looping the belt around the backs of the feet.

a. Optional: If you have very tight hips, consider sitting up on a pillow or blanket to allow the pelvis to tip forward slightly, facilitating the forward bend.

4. On your next inhale, pull on the feet or strap as you lengthen through the spine, extending the chest toward the toes. In this pose, length in the spine is more important than depth in the pose. In other words, don’t compromise the integrity of the spine by rounding the back in an attempt to grab the feet. Use the extra space provided by the strap to allow you to keep a long spine as you extend the torso toward the toes.

a. Advanced: If you have more flexibility through the hamstrings and hips, you may be able to rest your forehead on your shins in the forward bend. But don’t force it – this advanced movement is overrated and forcing it could cause you to misalign the spine and overstretch your hamstrings.

5. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths. With every inhale, lengthen through the spine. With every exhale, relax into the forward bend even more.

6. Breathe.

Thanks again for your dedication in 2013!

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Healthy and Happy 2014!