Forward Bend

Setup and Key Actions

Face the long edge of your mat. Stand with your feet wide apart and parallel, hands on your hips. Lengthen up through your crown. Spread and lift your toes to activate the muscles of your legs, and keep your legs active as you lengthen your toes back onto the floor. Press into the balls of your big toes and your outer heels. Keep the length in your spine, and press your feet apart from each other (as though you were stretching your mat in two) as you hinge forward from your hip creases (it’s fine to bend your knees as you do this). Bring all of your fingertips to the floor (or blocks) directly underneath your shoulders, and lengthen your spine forward as in ardha uttanasana (half forward bend).

On an exhale, keeping your spine long, fold forward, and release the crown of your head toward the floor (if the crown of your head actually touches the floor

, shorten your stance so that your head can hang). Walk your hands back between your feet (aiming to line up your fingertips with your toe tips), or hook your big toes, or interlace your hands behind you, reaching up overhead.

Relax your face and your jaw. Center your weight over the arches of your feet, and keep rooting through the balls of your big toes and your outer heels. To come out of the pose, walk your fingertips forward again (or use blocks) and lengthen halfway. Then bring your hands back to your hips, and press your feet away from each other as you rise up to standing.


Place blocks under your hands if fingertips to the floor is inaccessible or uncomfortable and prioritize a long spine over straight legs.