Stretches the ankles, calves, hamstrings and lower back.
Releases tension in the neck and shoulders.
Can help to alleviate lower back and neck pain.
Stand with your feet hip width apart, toes pointing forward. Inhale, bring your hands to your hips. Exhale, micro-bend your knees and hinge forward from the hips with a flat back. Cross your arms and hold onto opposite elbows.
Check that your knees point straight ahead and that your thighs are parallel.
Sway gently from side to side.
If you have tight hamstrings, keep your knees bent to avoid straining your lower back. If that still feels like a lot of pressure at your lower back, rest your hands on a block to support the weight of your upper body.
If you are safe to straighten your legs, contract your quadriceps to allow your hamstrings to relax. You can take hold of the backs of your calves, bring your hands to the floor or wrap your fingers and thumbs around your big toes.
Hold the pose for 5-10 deep breaths, in and out through the nose.
To come out of the pose, bring your hands to your hips, keep the micro-bend in your knees and come up to standing with a flat back—engaging your core to support your lower back.
VARIATION: Standing Forward Bend Shoulder Opener
VARIATION: Twisting Standing Forward Bend
Avoid this pose if you have a back or neck injury.