Step by step
- Start in Dandasana / Staff Pose.
- Bend your left knee bringing your heel close in to your left sitting bone, foot flat on the floor with the knee pointing up. Keep a space between your left foot and right thigh.
- Keep the right leg straight and active by engaging the thigh muscles and pointing your toes up to the ceiling.
- Inhale, reach your left arm up, create length in the spine and ground your sitting bones.
- Fold forward as you exhale reaching your left arm forward on the inside of your left thigh.
- Internally rotate your shoulder by turning your palm away from you. Bend your elbow and wrap your arm around your bent leg bringing the back of the hand to the side of the thigh or the hip.
- Wrap your right arm behind your back bringing your hands towards each other, taking hold of the left hand or wrist if they reach.
- Fold further forward as you exhale, keeping the lower belly engaged and the right leg active, toes pointing up.
- Sit up on a block or a folded blanket to be able to ground through both sitting bones
- Focus on the fold more than trying to clasp your hands together, use a strap or just grab your waistband or shirt.
- You can hold the bent leg with your opposite hand as you come forward to help keep it closer to the body. Use the knee to help you lever yourself forward with the left arm.
- Increases flexibility in the back, shoulders and hamstrings.
- Stimulates the abdominal organs.
- Improves digestion.
Watch out for
- Focus on sliding the shoulder blades down to avoid hunching the shoulders and upper back
- Pay special attention if you have lower back problems. It may be better for you to choose a gentle regular seated forward bend perhaps with your knees bent or sitting on a folded blanket, or to skip forward bends completely depending on how your back feels.
- Instead of binding your hands behind your back you can take hold of the big toe of your outstretched leg with your thumb and forefingers. Or wrap a strap or belt around the foot if your hand doesn’t reach.
- In this variation focus on lengthening the spine instead of folding forward.