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Many hot yoga classes include some variation of a wide-legged forward bend, which has many benefits including strengthening and toning the thighs and calves, and opening the hip joints and the lower back.
Start in mountain pose (tadasana) and step your feet 3.5 to 4 feel apart, depending on your height. Keep the outside edges of the feet parallel, or slightly pigeon-toed. Lift your chest and fold forward from the hips. If you're flexible, you might be able to place the crown of your head on the floor. In the Bikram sequence, you take hold of your big toes with the first two fingers and thumb and bend your elbows to help bring your head closer to the floor. Additional variations used in other hatha yoga classes include place the palms on the floor and keeping the elbows parallel, or clasping the hands behind the back and trying to bring your clasped hands up over your head towards the floor (this version helps release tension in your shoulders, too).
|Sheri Ann Richerson|