The standing forward fold is an asana used regularly in yoga classes. It has many benefits and is a great way to transition from standing asanas to seated ones. In Sanskrit, the standing forward fold is called Uttanasana. One of the most significant benefits of this pose is the ability to calm the mind and reduce stress and anxiety. It also decreases the effects of fatigue because the blood rushing to the head stimulates the brain. It helps to improve digestion and stretches the legs and hips. However, this pose should be approached with caution if you have low blood pressure or any lower back pain or injuries.
- Rounding The Back In A Bid To Reach The Floor – So many people do this (I used to be one of them). You can cause yourself so much back pain doing this.
- Not Relaxing The Head – Straining the neck to look forward or to your side to see what your friend is doing is not good. It can also cause neck and back pain.
- Not Bending The Knees Just Because You Think That’s The Easier Option –
- Over-extending the knees and pushing the hips back, therefore not stacking the hips over the ankles. It creates unnecessary tension in the whole body and puts extra pressure on the knee caps, which can cause pain and injury.
How To Fix These Mistakes And Create A Perfect Standing Forward Fold:
- Remember that your pose doesn’t have to be picture perfect; it just has to feel good for you.
- Start from the ground upwards. Push into all four corners of the feet, engage the leg muscles, and activate the knee caps. Make sure your hips are stacked in line with your ankles. If you are not sure, get somebody to help you or take a picture of yourself.
- Instead of folding from the waist, elongate and create as much space as possible in the upper body and then fold from the hips. It is imperative!
- As soon as you feel your back start to bend and hunch forward, stop! Inhale, elongate the spine and then exhale as you try to tip your pelvis up towards the sky and fold further.
- Bend the knees. To make sure that the back is safe in this pose; you need your belly to be touching your thighs. So, bend the knees as much as you need to achieve this.
- And finally, relax the head. The head should feel like a bowling ball, and the gaze should be through your knees.
These mistakes are also seen in seated forward bends (Paschimottanasana). The primary way to fix your errors sitting down is to bend the knees, elongate the spine, and fold from the hips. It is also just as important to relax the head and look at the floor between the knees (I know it is not that interesting). These tips should help you in every forward bend that you do.