This week I have been focussing on teaching forward bends

Seated forward bend (Pascimottanasana)

Seated forward bend (Pascimottanasana)

in my classes.  It always amazes me how different we all are in our ability to come into a forward bend – how the simple instruction to ‘fold forward from the crease of the hips trying not to round the spine’ will produce such a different shape in each student.  And yet what is even more interesting than the physical expression of the forward bend, is how much our attitude to moving into a forward bend can reflect our attitude to life off the mat – whether we struggle to push ourselves forward in spite of everything, or whether we are able accept our limitations and create a sense of spaciousness internally by working with an attitude of patience and curiosity.

Donna Farhi conveys this so clearly in her wonderful book ‘Yoga Mind, Body and Spirit’:

“In truth it matters little how far you can bend forward or how far you can twist, for wherever the point of resistance lies is the place where you have the greatest opportunity to learn and to change.  This opportunity exists whether you have the flexibility of an ironing board or the mobility of a gymnast.  If you can meet yourself just where you are rather than always looking beyond yourself to where you’d like to be, this attitude of steadfastness and compassion will bring the fruits of yoga to you.”