How to improve your Forward Fold

Forward Fold (Uttanasana) appears in many style of yoga, from sweaty Ashtanga to Yin and while it looks simple, could be contributing to back pain.  Most people focus on getting their hands to the floor, and in the process forget that this pose is a hamstring stretch and compensate for the lack of flexibility in the hamstrings by curling over at the lower back.  While doing this once in a while to stretch out the lower back wont hurt you, consistently doing this movement and looking for improvement by destabilising the lumbar spine will lead to lower back pain over time.  Check out the three tips below to improve your forward fold without injury.

1. Legs up the wall (Viparita Karani) Legs up the wall

          slowly move hips closer to wall, keeping legs straight and spine in neutral.  Keep pressing                your tailbone into the floor, not letting the lower back flatten into the ground to keep the                bend at the hip to target the hamstrings.

2. Bend your knees Modified Forward Fold keep the focus on the belly touching the thighs. This naturally lengthens out the spine and puts the basis of the stretch in the hamstrings, not the lower back.

3. Warm up – starting your practice with sprint intervals or fast-paced sun salutations to warm up the muscles sufficiently will improve your forward bend.