Forward Bends

Forward bends provide a great stretch for the entire back of the body, mainly your hamstrings. These bends are beneficial to reduce tension, calm your mind and soothe your nervous system. Similar to back bends, forward bends help keep your spine strong and supple. When stretching your muscles you release lactic acid that builds up with muscle use which causes stiffness, tension, pain, and fatigue. Doing these yoga postures can help increase the range of motion in your joints. It may also increase lubrication in the joints. The outcome is a sense of ease and fluidity throughout your body.

standing forward bend

These poses are good after balancing poses because people tend to hold their breath. It is important with all forward bends to keep length in the spine.

Big Toe Posture

  1. Stand with feet hip width apart, make sure both feet are parallel on the floor.
  2. Bend forward from the hips.
  3. Have your thumbs join the first two fingers around your big toes on each side.
  4. Inner wrists should face each other.
  5. Keep your knees soft and do not hyper extend.
  6. When toes are being held firmly, begin to bend elbows outward.
  7. Shoulders should be relaxed and away from the ears.
  8. Head and neck should be completely relaxed.
  9. Seat bones should move up towards the ceiling, top of the head should move towards the feet.

Hand Under Foot Posture

This pose in extremely useful for stretching out the wrists after doing lots of downward dogs during sun salutes.

This pose is the same as Big Toe Posture, but instead:

  1. Step into the hands so that the toes meet the inner wrist crease.
  2. Bring some extra weight into the balls of your feet.
  3. keep shoulders, head and neck relaxed.
  4. keep your sitting bones lifted and crown of your head towards the floor.

Extended separate leg intense stretch

  1. Stand with feet in a wide stance. (if you were to stretch out your arms, your ankles would be in line with your wrists).
  2. Keep feet parallel.
  3. Bend forward from the hips.
  4. Seat bones should be lifted up to the ceiling, and crown of head towards the mat.
  5. Make sure legs are straight and not hyper extended.

There are different arm variations:

A- Hands on floor

B- Hands stay on hips- This is good for the immune system

  1. Draw shoulder blades together.
  2. Keep chest open and continue to lengthen spine.

C- Hands behind back

  1. Clasp hands together.
  2. Can put pressure on arms to stretch shoulders.
  3. An option is to try and push against your hands, then release arms back towards the ground. Arms should fall farther towards the ground.

D- Fingers wrapped around toes

  1. Have your thumbs join the first two fingers around your big toes on each side.
  2. Pull on toes to bring your body closer in.
  3. Keep your elbows out to the side.
  4. Relax head and shoulders, releasing your neck.
  5. If you can't reach your toes, you can grab your calves and pull the same way.

Intense side stretch posture- Reverse prayer

  1. Start at the top of the mat. Step left leg back.
  2. Square hips.
  3. Option: Grab elbows behind back, touch fists or take reverse prayer hands down.
  4. Extend forward lengthening the spine down the leg.
  5. Keep both legs strong without hyper extending.
  6. Make sure feet are firm to the ground. Squeeze inner thighs together.
  7. Keep head in line with your spine.
  8. Do pose once on each side.