32/100 ~ Forward Fold (Uttanasana) – Haven’t we all been challenged at one time or another? “Can you touch your toes without bending your knees?” The ego wants us to say YES! and then prove it with a quick forward bend, only to reveal what we already know – tight hamstrings. Tightness in the hamstring muscles (back of the upper legs) can be a culprit for low back pain. This pose holds so many benefits. Read on and practice your own forward fold, then tell me all about it.

Benefits: Practicing this inversion pose is a great way to work on releasing the hamstrings and relieving low back pain. This pose also releases tension in the shoulders and neck by allowing them to relax and hang toward the floor. This is an inversion pose (we go upside down) and can ease headaches, calm anxiety and nervousness.

How to: Stand tall with your feet in Tadasana (Day 2). Take a deep breath. As you begin to exhale, put a slight bend in your knees and hinge at the hips as you lean forward. Bend the knees as much as you need to, and allow the head and shoulders to hang heavy. Hold opposite elbows or allow the arms to hang like a rag doll. Hold for 3-8 breath cycles.

To come out of this pose, press into the feet and inhale as you begin to rise up. Keep the chin tucked toward the chest until the very end – let your face show last. You might even want to pause half way up to exhale, then begin moving again on your next inhale.

Mantra: “It’s not about touching your toes that matters, it’s what you learn on the way down.”