Just from looking at the pose you can tell you’ll be feeling this one in your hamstrings, but it also gives a nice stretch down the sides of the body and through the shoulders. And of course, as a mild inversion, it can help to decompress the spine, relieve back tension and get your blood flowing back to the brain.
Begin in Mountain Pose at the top of your mat (Tadasana). Step your left foot back so that your feet are about 3 – 4 feet apart, placing your hands on your hips.
Turn your right foot so that the toes point to the front of your mat, while your left foot toes point towards the top-left courier of the mat. Your feet should be about hips-width apart.
Pressing down through the four corners of the feet and gently lifting the triceps, inhale to lengthen your spine, opening through the chest and squeezing the shoulderblades together.
As you exhale, hinge at the hips and begin to lean your torso over the front leg. Continue to fold over your front leg for as long as you can keep your spine straight.
To Perfect this Pose
The most notorious mistake we see in this pose is the rounding of the back (we totally get it, hamstring stretches aren’t fun!). But to really get the benefits of this pose, pull back up a little, reach the crown of your head to the front of your mat and push your hips back as you lower. Keeping your gaze ahead of your feet and focusing on lengthening both sides of your body evenly can help to get you into that flat-back position.
Another little cheat we’ll admit we often take to make the pose easier is not squaring our hips. Focus on pulling back through the front heel. Imagine scissoring your legs together, like you’re trying to fold the mat in between your feet. Check that you’re not sitting your bum out to the left or the right, either, and you’ll be set!
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