How to do Padchimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold)

Padchimottanasana is the basis of every forward fold in your practice. It’s important that you establish a healthy technique from the beginning. Think about opening your hips and hamstrings as you try this pose.

Start out sitting on the mat with your legs straight out in front of you. Keep your shoulders rolled down the back and your belly sucked in. Lift your spine up out of your pelvis.

Activate your thighs by squeezing them toward each other. The quadriceps should be completely engaged.

Now think about your forward fold coming from deep inside your pelvis. Exhale slowly fold, lifting your torso over your thighs and hinging at the hips.

Suck your belly in, creating a hollowness there. Now reach down and hold onto your toes. If you can’t reach your toes you can reach for your shins or even put your hands next to your legs on the floor.

Inhale and lift your head to look up. Make sure to continue to suck your belly in. Now exhale and relax your back so you fold in toward the top of your legs.

Stay here for five breaths. Every time you exhale try to fold a little further into the spaciousness of the body. Every exhalation should take you deeper into the posture.

If you need to deepen the posture wrap your hands around the soles of your feet and hold onto your wrist with one hand.

You don’t want to force yourself into this posture because you could risk injuring your hamstrings. Instead, allow yourself to melt into the pose. Flexibility is a journey that takes time. Be patient and allow your muscles to lengthen and release on their own.

To come out of the posture, slowly come up.

Healthy technique in this pose requires three basic things: active firm strong legs, finding the hollow space in the pelvis, and elongation of the torso. Get those three components and you can do this pose. Your flexibility will increase over time as you practice the pose.

Watch this video with Kino for more details about doing Padchimottanasana.