Ever looked around your yoga class and wondered how TF seemingly everyone except for you is able to touch the ground in forward fold? Yeah, well, same. But you can get there, too—it just takes a little patience and some simple flexibility exercises. “If you are unable to touch the floor, you’ll want to spend time focusing on opening the posterior muscles in the body—calves, hamstrings, glutes, and low back,” says Mirror trainer Pilin Anice. Yep, that means it’s time to stretch.
A few pro tips before you get to it: Whether you’re doing a standing or seated forward fold, “remember never to force the body to go deeper before it’s ready—especially the hamstrings, they don’t like to be overstretched!” Anice says. “When folding the body forward, keep a soft bend in the knees, working to fully extend the legs gradually.” She recommends holding stretches for 20–30 seconds (or around 8–10 breaths). “Feel the body opening, offering love and kindness to yourself as you stretch!” she adds. And since it’s best to do static stretches after a workout, try adding the ones below to your next cool down.
Stretches to help you touch the ground in forward fold
Anice recommends the following yoga poses to help you reach your goal of touching the ground.
1. Seated forward stretch with a strap
2. Downward dog
3. Low lunge
Again, these are great to add to the end of a workout, but it’s also helpful to take breaks during the day to stretch—especially if you spend most of the day in a chair. “A simple forward fold goes a long way and counteracts the stiffness that comes from being seated. Sway the torso to release low tension and softly bend and strengthen the legs to keep the hamstrings open,” she says. Anice also recommends incorporating a mantra that supports your goal. Try: “You will get closer with each breath!” she suggests. “With each breath I am creating space and allowing my body to open, or I am flexible and expansive.” Ground feels a little closer already, doesn’t it?
Here’s a beginners yoga flow to give a try:
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