Developing a Home Practice: How to Sequence a Practice
These are perhaps the original yoga poses, the “asana” that Patañjali refers to in his Yoga Sutras. Just as Tadasana (Mountain Pose) is the foundation of all standing poses, it is in the seated poses that we find the foundation of all the forward extensions. Here we look for the calm, steady base necessary for meditative practices. They are balancing and settling and can be used as a transition from Standing Poses into floor work.
I prefer to think of these as “extensions” rather than. Extension of the trunk is essential to the effective practice of these poses. Forward extensions can have a deeply calming effect on the nervous system. This is only achieved by proper extension of the front of the body in order to balance out the stretch of the back of the body. They are balancing and settling introspective poses.
At first consideration, it would seem that these poses primarily target the hips. This they most certainly do, but at the same time they get deep into the pelvis, lengthening and balancing the core muscles. Energetically speaking, they are balancing poses.
This small group of asanas are often thought of as "abdominal" poses. It would be fairer to say that they are full body poses. Certainly, at the outset, you may feel their effects in the lower abdominals, thighs and hip flexors, but the challenge is to engage the whole body to distribute the effort evenly throughout the frame. These are activating poses.