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  • Writer's pictureVincent Brown

Forward Fold & Downward Dog Tutorial

Forward Fold Yoga
Forward Fold with wide stance

Hey Phoenix Fam! It's Vince again with another "Yoga Unscripted" adventure. Today, we're tackling two poses that are as popular as they are misunderstood: Forward Fold (Uttanasana) and Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). You know, those poses that look so simple but can make you feel like you're trying to fold a piece of plywood? Yep, those ones! Only one person in my studio has mastered the picture-perfect Forward Fold – and it's not me! So, grab your slice of humble pie, and let's join Team Vince where it's okay not to touch your toes and where Downward Dogs might look more like Curious Cats. Remember, yoga's a marathon, not a sprint. Let's find our edge, play it safe, and maybe have a few laughs along the way.


Forward Fold (Uttanasana):


How to Execute:

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.

  2. Inhale, and as you exhale, hinge at your hips, folding forward.

  3. Let your head hang, releasing tension in your neck.

  4. Place your hands beside your feet or on your shins, whatever feels comfortable.

  5. Keep a slight bend in your knees to avoid strain.

  6. Focus on lengthening your spine with each inhale and deepening the fold with each exhale.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips.

  • Strengthens the thighs and knees.

  • Reduces stress, anxiety, and fatigue.

  • Stimulates the liver and kidneys.

Pro Tip:

  • Widening your stance will give your hips more space and make the fold easier

  • You may not get very close to the floor as you fold, that's ok keep your back straight and enjoy the deep stretch

  • Use your inhale to relax your exhale deepen the pose, rinse and repeat.


Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana):


How to Execute:

  1. Start on your hands and knees, hands slightly ahead of your shoulders.

  2. Exhale, lift your knees away from the floor, and lift your hips up and back.

  3. Try to straighten your legs while keeping a slight bend to avoid locking the knees.

  4. Press firmly into your hands, spreading your fingers wide.

  5. Draw your chest towards your thighs, keeping your head between your arms.

  6. Engage your core to support the pose.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the arms and legs.

  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands.

  • Energizes the body.

  • Improves digestion.

Pro Tip:

  • If you have trouble transitioning use blocks to create space when you start.

  • Pedal out your feet slowly, feel a stretch behind the leg that isn't bent

  • Down Dog isn't really a resting pose for most of us, take a breath in Child's pose when you need it.

"Downward Dog, is often used more than any other pose in yoga classes and it uniquely engages almost every muscle in the body." - Vince

Remember, these poses are about understanding and respecting your body. Meet your edge, and gradually work towards flexibility and strength. Yoga is a personal journey, not a race.


Try and apply a few subtle changes in your next class!


Trying to add all the adjustments at once can be overwhelming so start with just one or two and grow from there! I reccommend Healthy Aging, Foundations Flow, or if you want some sizzle Flow & Balance.



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