Many of us have trouble in reaching the floor when doing a standing forward fold (Uttanasana). With time your hamstrings will get more flexible and your mind will become soother.
Question from our user Nina:
“During the standing forward bend, what is the most important: to touch the mat with the hands, or to have the legs straight? I can’t do both…”
Answer by our yoga teacher Anu:
“Hi Nina, and thank you for your question!
The most important thing in the standing forward bend is that your lower spine is not strained. Does your back round a lot, when you practice the standing forward bend? If so and if your fingertips don’t come to the floor with straight legs, open your feet wider apart and place your fingertips on yoga blocks, straighten your elbows, lengthen your spine forward and just practice this variation of the half forward bend.
Make sure your arms are perpendicular to the floor. This means you need to move the blocks further forward away from your feet until the blocks and your hands are under your shoulders. Make your spine long, lengthen your sternum forward, activate your quadriceps and lift your sitting bones up. This opens the backs of the legs without straining the lower back.
If you want to stretch your lower back and the backs of the legs, bend your knees as much as needed to get your fingertips to the floor. Then, place a yoga block between your inner thighs and squeeze the block with your legs. Make sure your knees stay as wide apart as your feet are. Here you can place the feet hip width apart. Activate your quadriceps and slowly start to straighten your legs a bit more, but only as much that your fingers stay on the floor. Keep the legs strong! At the same time lengthen your sternum towards the floor between the feet and lift your shoulders away from your ears.
You can practice these variations of the standing forward bend as separate exercises. Stay in the pose 5 breaths, have a break for couple of breaths and repeat four times each variation. Be patient and with time the backs of your legs will open up. In the sun salutation we recommend that you keep your knees bent. It is safer for the lower back, when the pace of the practice gets a bit faster.
We hope that we could help you. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us! We are happy to help as much as we can. Thank you for practicing with Gotta Joga! – The Gotta Joga Team”