Forward Bend, Standing
Hamstrings, Hips, Legs, Low Back, Upper Back
Setup and Key Actions
From tadasana (mountain pose) with feet hip-width apart, step your right leg back about one leg-length, with your right toes pointing toward the upper right corner of your mat (your stance is like warrior I, or just slightly shorter). If you feel unstable, like you're standing on a tightrope, widen your stance by moving your left foot a little more to the left (but keep your back toes pointing toward the upper right corner of your mat). Micro-bend your front knee to avoid locking, and track your knee straight forward (err on the side of moving the knee toward the pinky-toe side of the foot as you root down through the ball of your right big toe and outer heel. Lift your back inner thigh up, draw the back side of your belly toward the front side of your belly, and move your front outer hip back.
Either keep your hands on your hips, hold opposite elbows behind your back, or come into a reverse prayer position (hands in prayer behind your back). Maintain length in your spine as you fold forward over your front leg. If your hands are resting on your hips, bring your fingertips to the floor (or blocks) in your fold.
Place blocks (any height) underneath your fingertips to find more length in your spine. You can also stick with a half (ardha) parsvottanasana by maintaining a neutral spine (stopping at or prior to the “halfway point”) instead of folding forward.