Standing Forward Fold, or uttanasana, as you might hear it called in a yoga class, is a basic movement that helps relax the hamstrings, release the lower back and calm the mind. Despite its simplicity, it can also put strain on all of those areas if not approached gently. Here’s how to keep your back and hamstrings comfortable and safe in one of the most common transition movements in yoga. Click here to learn more about Yoga Basics.
- Warm up with several reaching movements, sweeping the arms up and elongating the spine as you inhale deeply. Keeping the spine long is an important part of the Forward Fold.
- As you exhale, instead of dropping the shoulders and rolling forward from the stomach, spread the arms wide and FOLD at the hips.
- Bend the knees, a little or a lot, so that there is no pressure on your lower back and you can feel a nice stretch along the spine.
- If your hands do not reach the floor, place them flat against your shins or thighs and pull the spine away from the hips to keep pressure off the lower back.
- Return to standing as you inhale, by bending the knees deeply, and then reverse the dive, arms out to the side, shoulders lifted.
- Repeat several times, noticing the release of tension in your hamstrings, lower back, shoulders, neck, breath, and mind.
Better, right? 🙂
This is a great movement to do when you wake up in the morning, if you’ve been sitting for over an hour, or before you begin a more strenuous activity.