Do you lack momentum or are you holding back?
When reaching the natural limit of the pose and desiring to deepen it further, practitioners often employ common strategies such as lowering the head to pull the entire trunk, advancing the chin with the same intention, or pushing the buttocks back to generate momentum from the ground towards the head.
To explore ourselves in Paschimottanasana, we can embrace the spirit of discovery. The following suggestions aim to address the questions raised earlier and encourage new pathways for exploration, always inviting further inquiry.
The strategies mentioned earlier are typically adopted by those who perceive their limitations as a result of lacking strength and momentum. In the first two cases, the movement is centered in the head and associated with pulling, while in the third case, it involves pushing from the buttocks.
Now, considering the possibility of inadequate strength or momentum, we can experiment with activating the movement from an untapped area. For instance, projecting forward from the center of the pelvis or the center of the chest may open up unexplored possibilities.
But what if we open ourselves to the idea that we already possess enough momentum, and the pause in movement is due to an internal brake?
To address this, we can try the following:
- Release tension in the anal muscles and buttocks to let go of unnecessary resistance and allow for smoother movement.
- Allow the sit bones to descend gently towards the ground, relieving strain in the groins and facilitating a sense of grounding and stability.
- Observe the flow of our breath, identifying areas of excessive contraction. By doing so, we can experiment with loosening those tense regions and unlocking more fluidity in the pose.
By exploring these possibilities, we delve deeper into our practice, unraveling new layers of understanding and uncovering potential barriers that may hinder our progress. The willingness to explore, question, and adapt leads us to a greater sense of self-awareness and empowers us to take the practice of Paschimottanasana and other asanas to new heights.
How to overcome the brake
In this scenario, where we acknowledge the presence of excessive force opposing the intended movement, we can explore the following strategies:
- Relax the anal muscles and buttocks, releasing their grip on the trunk, which allows the hamstrings to lengthen naturally.
- Allow the sit bones to gently descend toward the ground, alleviating tension in the groins. This not only serves the same purpose as before but also enhances our connection with the ground, providing greater stability.
- Pay close attention to our breath and identify any areas of hyper-contraction in the body. By doing so, we can experiment with the possibility of gradually releasing tension in those areas. This marks the beginning of an exciting journey of self-discovery and improvement.
How to discover if we have reached our equilibrium point?
Recognizing the optimal moment to stop is a skill that can be likened to an art form. The most effective way to determine if we have reached a state of balance is to exit the posture and observe the sensations in terms of vitality, strength, calmness, and freedom of movement.
Exiting any pose should be a simple and effortless process. If it becomes challenging or strained, it is an indication that we have pushed beyond the point of equilibrium, the point of no return.
If, after introducing modifications to a posture, we notice a decline in any of these parameters, it suggests that we were in a better state before the changes.
Let’s retrace our steps. This process of exploring our approach and alignment in Paschimottanasana can be applied to any other asana or movement, both on and off the mat.
Engaging in this exploration during our practice can be a valuable resource, not only providing serenity but also enriching our daily lives in various ways.
Physical and psychological habits
When we approach a yoga asana or any movement with mindful attention to the moments where our progress seems to halt, we gain valuable insights into our physical and psychological movement patterns.
In those instances, a new opportunity arises: we can let go of the initial objective of moving in a specific direction and instead redirect our focus towards other goals. By doing so, we uncover the reasons behind our pause and understand whether stopping is a challenge to overcome or a solution to embrace. We also get a chance to tap into our inner resources and determine how to proceed on the current path or explore an entirely new one.
This process of self-exploration leads to profound understanding and a deeper connection with ourselves. As a result, we gain clarity and the ability to discern the right time and direction for the next step in our journey.