Standing forward fold is a pose that most students have a ‘love/hate’ relationship with. The pose can feel a little uncomfortable and tends to take students out of their comfort zones. It can also be quite difficult for those with tightness through the back of the legs or lower back. However, many students love this pose because it shows results very quickly! Especially when done in hot yoga, this pose noticeably increases flexibility to the legs, torso and arms. It brings blood flow to the head, creating a euphoric sensation! Many claim that it helps to clear their minds and create focus. Forward folds host a whole bunch of benefits, and many of them are results that you will see quite quickly in your progress.
Massages the digestive organs
Increased flexibility (especially through the legs)
Whole body stretch (great for improving the body for other workouts/activities)
Lengthens the spine
Increases blood flow to the head
Relieves lower back pain
This pose is quite simple in it’s set up and offers many different options. The biggest mistake people make is NOT doing a forward fold of some description after doing a backbend (next weeks pose!)
“This pose is awesome for anyone looking to release tension through the spine, back, legs or even the mind! It is one of my go-to poses after a tough workout!”
Start in mountain pose. Take a deep inhale.
On an exhale, release the arms out wide and swan dive forward, leading with the chest, back straight.
Bring the fingers down to the ground, eventually building enough flexibility to have the palms flat on each side of the feet. OPTION: bring the fingertips to the shins.
Pause for a few breaths at this stage, allowing the body to feel comfortable in the forward fold.
Bring the hands underneath the feet from behind, aiming to get the forearms behind the calves and all fingers and thumbs under the heels, fingers point towards the toes, palms facing upwards. Keep the legs straight or with a slight bend, depending on flexibility. OPTION: keep finger tips on the ground or shins until flexible enough to move forward. This may take a few practice sessions. To increase flexibility, use the index and middle fingers to wrap around the big toes in a grip to pull on gently, increasing flexibility with each practice.
On an exhale, bring the head in as close to the knees as possible, face pressed to the thighs or knees. Aim to press the stomach and chest the the thighs. Pull on the feet to feel the stretch through the back of the legs, keeping the back straight. Hold in this pose for 5 deep breaths, aiming to bring the crown of the head closer to the mat with each exhale.
To release the pose, on an inhale, bring the hands to heart center and rise with a strong core and flat back. OPTION: If this is too strong, slowly roll up with an inhale, bringing the head up last. This is also a good option for those who experience dizziness upon rising from this pose.
Warning: Although confronting, this pose is mega addictive! Enjoy all the benefits that it brings! Want to learn more about the yogic lifestyle and how to improve your postures? We have a whole bunch of FREE podcasts that you are going to love! Click here to check them out!
Mike, Suz & the PPHY Team 🙂