Did someone want a forward fold? Then look no further than caterpillar pose. Get to access your deep muscle tissue, your fascia, through this classic yin yoga pose. What’s so great about caterpillar is that it’s one of the easiest poses in yin yoga to notice your fascia opening over time as you hold.
Get into Caterpillar Pose Step-by-Step
- Sit with your legs out long in front of you. It may be beneficial to sit up on a block or folded blanket, especially if you have difficulty relaxing in a forward fold.
- Round your spine as you lean forward over your legs.
- Relax your legs (they may roll out to the sides) and let your head be heavy.
- Arms may relax on your legs or by your sides.
- Physical: Decompresses the spine. Stretches the entire backside of the body, specifically along the spine and hamstrings. This is one of the best poses to notice fascia opening.
- Energetic: Connected to the Water element and stimulates the Urinary Bladder meridian. This pose is said to replenish energy.
- Emotional & Mental: An excellent pose to practice Ishvara Pranidhana, which means to surrender. It is very calming for the mind and encourages looking inward. This activates the root and sacral chakras, promoting grounding and emotional release.
- May irritate sciatica. If so, keep your spine straight by using one end of a bolster on the floor and angle the top towards you to rest your head on.
- For lower back issues where rounding of the spine is not recommended, such as a slipped disc, avoid this pose.
- Any knee or hamstring injuries, place a bolster, rolled blanket, or blocks under your knees to keep them bent.
- Sit on a prop to encourage a forward fold motion and avoid rounding your hips back.
- Fold over a bolster and rest your head on the bolster or a block on top of the bolster.
- Legs up the wall is a great alternative for those with sciatica or lower back pain. Draw your sit bones up towards the edge of a wall. Lay on your back as your lift your legs above you, keeping them on the wall. You may wish to use a cushion under your hips.
Get Out of the Pose
- Keep your chin in towards your chest.
- Begin to walk your hands back beside your hips as you slowly restack your spine.
- Shoulders land stacked over your hips with your head coming up last.
- Reclined butterfly.
- Reverse tabletop.
- Twisted root.
How Long to Hold Caterpillar?
- 3-5 minutes for students new to yin or injuries is ideal.
- 7-10 minutes if you wish to work deep into your fascia. A 7-minute forward fold hold should be worked up to over time to avoid too much stress on the body.