Forward Fold Tutorial

How to Fold Forward (without breaking your back) Guide


”I’m so stiff, I can’t even touch my toes!” – not the first time we hear that. People often showcase their stiffness by doing the forward fold.

”Like, how can I practice yoga, when I can’t even move past my knees when I fold forward?”

If you’re one of those people, good, you’re in the right place.

You can watch the tutorial first and then move on to read more about how you can slowly increase your flexibility and show off in front of your friends who still struggle to get past their ankles.

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There’s nothing wrong with not being able to touch your toes. What can be problematic though, is if you’re trying to force the movement incorrectly. Folding forward is often used to measure flexibility poorly or sometimes even dangerously.

Just like you won’t be doing kneebars as a white belt, you also won’t try to forcibly fold while almost breaking your lower back in half and tearing your hamstrings.

That won’t make you more flexible or prevent any injuries! Forward folds are not about how deep you can go but rather how deeply you can release.

We have not been born stiff let’s just get this straight at the beginning. Stiffness comes from our daily activities, such as sitting, breathing, basically, there are many factors contributing to this awful state.

Before we continue further explaining this pose, let’s talk about the benefits. There are many benefits to forward bends, both standing and sitting:

  1. Forward Fold pose lengthens the spinal column, stretches the hamstrings and the back muscles.
  2. Besides that, it stimulates digestive, urogenital, nervous and endocrine systems.
  3. For some people, it has the ability to calm their mind and cool the body.
  4. It reduces fatigue and anxiety.
  5. And the obvious one – like almost everything we teach here, it will help you improve your performance on the mat.

To fold, we need to start with a good center.
Suck your belly in, hinge at the waist and descend towards your feet. Bend your knees as much as you can, so you can place the palms of your hands on the floor – ain’t no shame in the bent leg game, people!
Rest your chest flat, on top of your tights and drop the head. It is in this position, that your body feels safe because now it knows it can’t go any deeper. Your spine is relaxed.

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Now we can really begin with the fold. Inhale deeply while you’re in the bend position and straighten your legs on the exhale. You might not notice it, but every repetition you do is different than the first one.

There are plenty of videos on our website that include forward folds, to just mention a few: Yoga Uniao Advanced Series #1 – Part 1, Startup Program Day #1, Live athletes flow class #2Spinal maintenance

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You can also do this exercise seated on the floor. The process is very similar. Start from the bend knee position, hugging your legs and trying to rest the head on your knees. Don’t go for the 100% straight away, you will injure your spine. This is also one of the most common stretching mistakes.

Once you start feeling your muscles giving in, either begin to move your butt back or your heels forward. You can move them simultaneously as well, but remember to go slow!

It takes patience and dedicated practice to perform forward fold at its fullest expression. But keep doing it this way and we promise you, the results will come.

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