Paschimottanasana, like most forward folds, has a calming effect on the nervous system, and it can feel great to relax into the pose and allow the upper body to fall heavily towards the legs. This week however, we are emphasizing axial elongation of the spine, and to achieve this we need to be move active in the pose.
Common misalignment: Practitioner allows the back to round, creating a curve that begins at the lumbar and goes all the way up to the cervical vertebrae. The head nods towards the knees or shins.
The Fix: We want to try to honor the spine’s natural curvature in order to maintain stability. Bend the knees slightly, try to find a small anterior tilt in the pelvis and from here extend the spine to the ceiling. As you begin to fold forward think about lengthening the spine up and away rather than focusing on getting the head to meet the legs.