Step by step
- Start in Standing Forward Bend / Uttanasana.
- Root down through the feet, engage your legs, draw the lower belly in and up, and use your back muscles to bring your upper body almost parallel with the ground.
- Draw the shoulder blades down and create length through the spine, from the tailbone to the top of the head.
- Place your hands on your shins, or your fingertips on the floor. You could also use blocks.
- Look forwards keeping the back of the neck long, opening the front of the chest.
- Bend your knees and place your hands on blocks to start with. Lengthening the spine is your main focus in the pose.
- To experience the extension of the spine, try the pose with your hands flat against a wall (or a chair) in front of you, upper body parallel to the floor.
- Extends the spine.
- Develops flexibility in the hips and hamstrings.
- Strengthens the back and legs.
Watch out for
- Keep the knees bent slightly if you have issues with your lower back.
- Don’t lift the head if you have neck injuries, keep your gaze to the floor or just slightly ahead.
- Legs should be strong and active but avoid locking the knees.
- To strengthen your back, try placing your hands in prayer position, keeping your shoulder blades down and your back muscles and belly engaged.
- Try the twist variation: with a long spine, place your right fingertips down and rise your left arm arm, slightly bending the opposite knee. Repeat on the other side.