Learn Yoga with the Forward Fold Pose

Edited by HealthNut, Eng, VisiHow

The Forward Fold, also known as the Big Toe Pose or the Padangusthasana, is a stretch in yoga designed to strengthen your thigh muscles. The pose also stretches the calf and the hamstring muscles. However, you should not attempt this pose if you have a lower-back or neck injury, as this pose can aggravate those injuries. This pose also helps to relieve stress and anxiety and improves your digestion. If the pose is done correctly, it can also help relieve headaches and insomnia if you are a sufferer. Due to the pressure it puts on your stomach, your liver and kidneys will also be stimulated by performing this pose.

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The Forward Fold Step-by-Step

  1. 1
    Read up on our article for how to warm up for yoga.
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  2. 2
    To begin this pose, stand with your feet slightly apart, ensuring they are parallel. Tense your front thigh muscles: this should raise your kneecaps. Keep your legs completely straight and breathe out. Bend forward from your hips, trying to keep your torso and head a single unit.
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  3. 3
    Place your index and middle fingers between your big toe and second toe on each of your feet. Curl those fingers and grip your big toe firmly. Wrap your thumbs around the other fingers if you feel that your grip is a little loose. If you cannot reach your toes without going off-balance, then feel free to put a strap around each of your feet and hold the straps instead. You can also try the Reclining Big Toe Pose if you prefer.
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  4. 4
    As you breathe in, raise your chest as if you are about to stand and straighten your elbows. Stretch your torso, and when you next breathe out, raise your sitting bones (around your pelvis). Depending on how flexible you are, your lower back will stretch more or less. As this happens, release your hamstring muscles and allow your lower belly to hollow like your back was before. The lower belly is the area beneath your belly button. It should fall towards the back of your pelvis.
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  5. 5
    Raise the top part of your collar bones as high as you can take them comfortably but without lifting your head so high that you put pressure on the back of your neck. Keep your forehead as relaxed as possible so you don't create tension, which could cause headaches.
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  6. 6
    Inhale and exhale slowly, lifting the torso as much as you can while contracting the front of your thighs. Try to deepen the hollow in your lower back while you breathe in, relaxing the hamstrings.
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  7. 7
    On the final exhale, bend your elbows outwards and pull upwards on your toes. Stretch out the front and sides of your chest and then gently lower yourself into a forward bend position.
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  8. 8
    You can also try and place your palms flat on the floor, hold on to your elbows and let your head hang or walk your hands from side-to-side if you are feeling particularly stiff.
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  9. 9
    If your hamstring muscles are particularly long, it is possible for you to push your forehead to your shins. Do not try to push this though if your hamstrings are short as forcing it can cause injury to your lower back. Instead, it is better to just focus on keeping your chest lengthened as much as you can and still be comfortable.
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  10. 10
    Once you're in the final position, hold it for at least one minute, inhaling and exhaling deeply. To release this pose, let your toes go and bring them up to your hips. Breathe in and, at the same time, bring your body back up so you're standing straightly again.
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  11. 11
    You can exit the pose by coming up to a flat back position and then to a Mountain Pose.
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  12. 12
    Follow up with our how-to on cooling down after yoga.
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Variations on this pose:

  • You can create a sequence involving this pose with the addition of some other simple poses. You can go from the downward facing dog to the forward-fold position. If you're struggling with the full-forward fold pose, you can modify it into a half-forward fold by bending in that way that your fingers touch the floor and are not curled around your toes. This is more comfortable for those who have trouble bending down or who are true beginners at yoga.

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Categories : Sports

Recent edits by: Eng, HealthNut

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