How To Do Seated Forward Fold

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Chloe Freytag demonstrating Seated Forward Fold in a black tank top and yoga pants

Seated Forward Fold is a yoga pose that stretches the hamstrings and low back. Unlike a standing forward fold, the seated forward fold takes the pressure off of the spine that comes along with the unsupported forward flexion of the standing forward bend and lets the hamstrings find a deeper stretch and the back find release without pressure. If you are looking for relief from a tight low back or tight hamstrings you should learn how to do Seated Forward Fold.

The first thing to note when practicing Seated Forward Fold is that you should sit in a folded blanket or towel to slightly raise your hips off the ground. This will release some of the tension in the stretch and make it more tolerable. Next, make sure you press your heels into the floor gently and pull your inner thighs in to help engage the pelvic floor.

Many people who practice this pose rush and do it without thinking about the process and the posture. As you begin to bring your body forward it is crucial to take it in order so that you get the true stretch you are looking for. As you bring your body over your thighs you should feel your low belly touch the legs first, then the rib cage, and the head should come down last. If you are unable to hold onto your toes with your hands, use a strap or towel around your feet to provide length.

Breathing is always important in yoga, but in this position it is critical. With each exhale release more of your body onto the top of the legs and release more of the tension in your muscles.

Here are the steps to doing a Seated Forward Fold.

1) Begin in a seated position with legs stretched out straight in front of you and spine tall and straight.

2) Inhale as you reach straight up overhead to lengthen your spine.

3) As you exhale, reach your middle and index fingers to grab your big toes and begin to bring your body over the top of your legs.  Lower until you feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings and low back and hold.

4) Breathe fully as you continue to lengthen your spine. Hold for 30 seconds.

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