I want to share an adjustment I learned from a yoga teacher friend, which feels great. My friend modestly refuses to allow me to credit her, saying she just put some things she learned from other teachers together.
The student is seated and moves in to Paschimottananasa, seated front bend.
Kneeling behind the student, place your hands, fingertips towards the floor, under his/her butt and lift upwards and push forwards. This stretches the hamstrings and helps him/her to bend from the hip crease rather than the waist.
Place your hands on the S1/L5 joint, where the lumber spine joins the hips. Slowly walk your hands using your thumbs and index fingers up the spine pressing gently.
Take a medium sized towel and lay it across the student's back. Bring your stomach forward inch-by-inch, pushing forwards as you do so, so that your stomach is pressing against the student's back, pushing his or her back towards his/her flexed toes. Keep your belly soft, relaxing the muscles in your stomach, catch each edge of the towel with each hand, and pull down towards the mat. This helps to flatten the student's back.
Breathe slowly and deeply in synchronism with the student.
Gradually increase the downward pressure on the student's back with each exhalation.
Lastly, you can reach forward and catch the student's toes, checking they are as flexed as possible if you wish.
Hold for 10 breaths. Relax and gently release.
Valerie Wilson Trower
Dr. V holds a docterate in Historical and Critical Studies, from The London College of Fashion, The University of the Arts, London. She practices Ashtanga yoga, Mysore style and leads Hatha yoga stretches for the Siddha Meditation Path.
Reprinted with permission from Namaskar