We received a question from our user regarding Seated Forward Bend (from Gotta Joga Day Yoga Program):
I’m asking for your help with the seated forward bend position. I have been practicing yoga for 2½ months now thanks to your application (which by the way is absolutely awesome!) and it does me a lot of good!
However, when I try to do the seated forward bend, I am a piece of wood. I have great difficulty keeping my back straight and my hip joints amplitude is close to nothing…
Do you have any advice for me to improve my practice?
Reply from our yoga teacher, Anu Visuri:
Thank you for your question!
The seated forward bends are the most challenging of all the forward bends. We would recommend you to practice standing forward bends.
Start with the wide legged forward bend keeping you knees slightly bent and your back long, like in the half forward bend with your hands on yoga blocks
. Tilt your pelvis up and widen the sitting bones apart. Slowly work with straightening your legs by activating your quadriceps (pull the knee caps up), still keeping your back long. Work like this a couple of weeks and then start to make the stance shorter and shorter, still with a long back and actively straightening the knees.
When you notice that the backs of your legs have become longer (this might take couple of months), make your stance again wide and with straight knees slowly step by step start to bend your elbows and to fold between the legs. The back is allowed to round. It is a forward bend, but you want to have an even rounding of the spine. That is the reason why we try to keep the back long also in the forward bends. Also here, slowly make the stance shorter and always start with the long back. This again might take time.
It is also good to keep in mind that in every yoga pose where both legs or one leg is straight and the back of the leg is getting a stretch that you keep you quadriceps muscles, the front of the thigh, active. This action makes the stretch in the back of the leg safe and efficient.
This is a process and it takes time, so be patient and give yourself time.
Thank you for practicing with Gotta Joga!
Anu Visuri, yoga teacher and co-founder of Gotta Joga
Certified Anusara® yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 500 & YACEP).