You will encounter this brief pose through many vinyasa flows. (It’s also referred to as a Standing Half Forward Bend.) Because it’s a transitional pose, beginners may not have time to fully take in the alignment cues to refine their practice. Prevent repeated mis-alignment in this foundational posture by following the tips below.
This transitional pose has the following benefits:
- acts as a counter-stretch to forward folds
- stretches the back of the legs
HOW TO DO AN EXTENDED FORWARD BEND
1. With feet together or hip distance apart, start from a standing forward fold. Let your head and neck hang loose and heavy.
2. Bring your hands to either your shins or the front of the thighs.
3. Lift and straighten your back to come parallel to the floor.
4. Roll your shoulders away from your ears.
5. Keep your gaze on the floor or lift your gaze slightly towards the front of the room.
MODIFICATIONS FOR BEGINNERS
- The placement of the hands will depend on your flexibility. The goal of this pose is to straighten the back parallel to the floor so focus on that and let your hands rest wherever they reach comfortably. (Just avoid resting the hands on the kneecaps, instead opting for above or below.)
- Lift through the back and chest—not the neck.
- Your knees can keep a slight bend here to alleviate pressure in the lower back.