Photography by: Ian Logan
STANDING FORWARD BEND. Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips; strengthens the thighs and back; calms the nervous system. A | Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your spine long. Inhale as you raise your arms toward the sky. B | Exhale and bend forward at the hips, keeping your head in line with your spine and your arms straight. If your hamstrings are tight, you can bend your knees slightly. Otherwise, keep your legs straight but don’t lock your knees. C | Lower your arms to the ground and place your fingertips on the ground beside your feet or in front of you, keeping your hips aligned over your ankles. If you can, keep your knees straight and flatten your palms on the ground. If not, bend your knees slightly and hold onto the sides of your calves. Press your heels firmly into the ground and extend your tailbone upward. Rest your head and relax your shoulders, focusing on the stretch in your hamstrings. If you feel a pulling sensation in a bony area (around your tailbone, for example) or in a joint, bend your knees to make the stretch less intense. Hold the pose for 30 to 45 seconds. Then, keeping your torso straight, lift from your hips to rise to a standing position.