If you're a runner, your hamstrings and lower back must get really tight. Wide-Legged Forward Bends are one of the greatest stretches to do because you can let gravity pull your torso down and you get an amazingly deep stretch. There are actually four versions of this pose in Ashtanga Yoga, and here's the first one.
|Sanskrit Name: Prasarita Padottanasana A|
English Translation: Feet Spread Intense Stretch Pose A
Also Called: Wide-Legged Forward Bend A
If you want to know how to do this pose, then
- Stand with your feet one leg's length distance apart (about three to four feet).
- Flare your heels slightly wider than your toes (this will help to open your hips more and intensify the stretch in your hamstrings).
- Keeping your spine as long as possible, fold forward, hinging at the hips. Plant your palms on the ground between your feet, with your elbows pointing behind you. If you can't reach the floor, keep your legs straight and rest your hands on your shins.
- You want to think about drawing the crown of your head to the floor, and this will help to elongate your spine. Use your abdominals to pull your torso through your thighs to deepen the stretch in your lower back and the backs of the legs. Relax your toes and try to shift the weight of your hips so they're in line with your feet.
- If your head touches the ground very easily, then you can walk your feet a little closer together. If your head isn't even close to touching, that's OK. The point of this pose is to feel a nice stretch in your legs and back so as long as you feel that, you're doing it right.
- Stay here for at least five deep breaths. When you're ready to come out, press into your feet, engage your quads, and inhale as you stand up.