Standing forward fold, or uttanasana, is not a pose that we typically think much about. One of the first asanas of a typical sun salutation, this pose is often performed while on “auto-pilot.” In this article, we’ll break down how to bring a bit of mindfulness to your next forward fold.
Lead with the heart. Many of us developed poor “toe touching” habits thanks to years of youth sports team and P.E. warm-ups. In uttanasana, it’s important to dive forward with a flat black and to lead with the upper chest. This mindful movement will help you avoid rounding in the back and will provide you with a deeper stretch.
Activate your core. Don’t think about forward fold as an opportunity to just bend over and let gravity do the work in stretching out your hamstrings. Instead, engage your abdominal muscles and use them to help pull your heart closer to your shins and your hands flatter to the ground beside your feet.
Take a moment to look inward. While you’re settling into your forward fold, look up toward your belly button for just a second (but be careful not to round your back). This can help you connect visually with the powerful muscles you’re using to pull deeper into the pose.