You’ll never be bent out of shape again when you get to grips with Uttanasana (Forward Fold). Hamstring stretches, like Forward Fold, have developed in to one of the classic indicators of someone’s flexibility; if you can touch your toes, then you’re flexible!
But Forward Fold is not just about touching your toes to the detriment of your posture. There’s so much more involved and it’s good to spend time working in your Forward Fold.
Sinead’s how-to guide on Uttanasana
This forward fold pose is great for stretching the calves,hamstrings and hips and strengthening the thighs. This can help to calm the brain, improve digestion and stimulate liver and kidneys.
If you have a back injury or an injury to the backs of the legs, make sure you keep your knees bent all the way through this pose, or only bend half way with your hands on the wall.
Preparatory poses for Forward Fold
Here are a few poses which help warm you up to Forward Fold. Here are some links to Youtube videos that might help you with those poses to get ready for Forward Fold:
Start in Tadasana hands on hips, feel your feet evenly spread across the floor, engage the front of your thighs and your abdominal muscles, and take a deep inhale. With the exhale start to bend forward from your hips, not from the waist.
You can land your hands on the floor or on bricks and have the knees slightly bent.
Take an inhale with knees still bent, draw your shoulder blades towards each other and let your breastbone shine forwards. With the exhale keep that length you have found in the front of your torso and bend further forward from the hips, you can lengthen the legs here if you feel comfortable. Notice if your upper spine arches backwards, if it does you want to either bring your hands higher up on bricks or keep your knees bent.
Hold this pose for 6 deep breaths, feeling the body soften further with each exhale.
To exit the pose you can place hands back on hips or (keeping your back straight) bring arms with ears and inhale to come back to upright.
We’ll be practicing in class this week, so come along and have a go
Give it a go! Remember it’s not all about touching your toes, so don’t worry if you can’t just yet.
Best of luck with your practice! We’d love to see your pose on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #yfweeklypose