• From Staff Pose (Dandasana), bring your legs wide apart, up to a point where you feel a good stretch, but can still hold the pose, maintaining a straight spine, and without falling back.
• Flex your ankles, and keep your knees and toes pointed up towards the ceiling. Press your legs and sitting bones down, and lengthen up through your spine. • With a long spine, bend from the hips. Place your hands between your legs on the floor, and slowly exhale as you start to walk your hands forwards.
• Maintain length along the front of your body as you come further into the forward bend. If you feel you are starting to arch your back, don’t lower any further.
• Hold this pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
• To come out of the pose, come up with a straight back, pressing your sitting bones down, as you exhale.
Beginners tips • You can bend your knees to give you a little more room to maintain a straight spine and maybe move into the forward fold.
• You can place your hands behind your back for support, is sitting up straight is intense enough for your hamstrings.
• If you don’t feel the stretch in your hamstrings but you do behind the knees, take a block or a folded blanket and place it under your knees.
• To help your pelvis to tilt comfortably forward, sit on a folded blanket or block.
• Stretches the hamstrings and inner thighs.
• Opens the hips and back of the body.
• Stimulates the abdominal organs.
• Strengthens your spine.
Watch out for...
• Use as many props as needed for your pelvis to tilt forward. Practising this pose with height under your pelvis will allow your body to open up a lot quicker than it would if you were sitting on the ground and trying to force yourself forwards.
• Ensure you maintain a long spine. There is always a tendency to round the back in this pose. Height under the pelvis helps to maintain length along your back.
• Draw your shoulder blades down your back, and together slightly. Relax your shoulders away from your ears to avoid creating unnecessary tension in your upper back and neck.
• Keep engaging your thigh muscles to lift your kneecaps and help support your knees.
Explore the side-bend variation of this pose:
• Ground through your sitting bones, engage your core slightly and lengthen your spine. Allow your right hand to move down your right leg towards your toes.
• Lift your left arm up as you inhale. With an exhalation, take your left arm up and over, alongside your ear, ensuring that you keep your chest open.
• Look underneath your arm if it’s comfortable for your neck. Keep length in your side body, and keep your pelvis tilting forwards.
• To come out of the pose, engage your core, bring awareness to the muscles of your left side body, and come up with an inhalation. Repeat on the other side.
Alternative Bound Angle Pose / Butterfly Pose Baddha Konasana
Counterpose Bridge Pose Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Variation Wide Leg Standing Forward Fold Prasarita Padottanasana