I’m excited to announce the very first Yoga Recipe! I came up with concept a couple years ago because I liked the idea of sharing recipes with step-by-step instructions, breaking down certain poses.
The first one is, of course, one of the most overlooked foundational poses in yoga: forward fold (Uttanasana). Understanding how to engage our bodies in these positions will enable us to truly get the most out of them.
This is especially true for poses like forward fold. This can be a huge hamstring opener and low-back releaser. In fact, doing this pose in the morning/evening for 1-3 minutes can be crazy effective at loosening the low back.
The first photo illustrates what not to do, and the second photo shows more engagement/ alignment. The second photo is more similar to a half-way lift, (ardha uttanasana) but practicing this can really help deepen your forward fold.
Instead of this…
Here are my 2 biggest game changing tips for forward fold that don’t often get mentioned in class.
1. Bend Your Knees. Like, a lot. A lot more than you think you need to. I get lots of students/ friends telling me they can’t touch their toes, and so I tell them to bend their knees and they think that’s cheating, but it’s not! You are going to get way more flexible much more quickly by bending your knees. Why? Because you are engaging the backs of your legs and undoing the tightness in the low back as well. Straight legs = no engagement and it’s hard to open up the low back this way. A lot of not being able to touch you toes comes from tightness in the lumbar spine, not just tightness in the hammies! So bending the knees & finding proper alignment takes care of both areas right away.
2. Press down through the outer edges of your feet, slightly lifting the arches. They don’t have to come off the ground completely, but you don’t want the weight of your feet turning inward (pronation). This little trick can send a jolt of a stretch all the way up the backs of the legs like nothing else! Make sure most of your weight is in your heels, not in the toes. Also, play around with shifting your weight forwards and backwards, from side to side to make the stretch more dynamic.
I hope this helps!! Tag #auroralyrayoga in your yoga posts so we can connect and always feel free to reach out with any questions. 🙂