Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend - Prasarita Padottanasana

How to Do Standing Straddle Forward Bend - Prasarita Padottanasana
Standing Straddle Forward Bend - Prasarita Padottanasana. Ann Pizer

Type of Pose: Standing

Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings and opens the hips.

It's called a wide-legged forward bend, but that doesn't mean that the ideal pose has your legs as far apart as possible. How wide to go is going to depend primarily on your height, but we're looking for something in the neighborhood of three to three-and-a-half feet. Aim for around a 90-degree angle between your legs.

Even if you have the flexibility to go farther apart and you really want to get your head to the floor, it's not in the interest of this pose to take your feet super wide.

In fact, it may cause you to have hip problems over time, so you want to stick with a super stable base. It's ok to go narrower, but try not to go wider. 


1. Step your feet apart into a wide straddle. The feet should be slightly pigeon-toed so that the outside edges of your feet stay parallel.

2. Begin to come into a forward bend. Make sure that your movement is initiated from the rotation of your pelvis forward. Imagine the pelvis as a bowl of water. You want the water to tip out the front as you forward fold. What you don't want is to do all your forward bending with your spine. Try to keep a flat back as you come forward. 

3. Bring your hands directly underneath your shoulders at first. Then begin to walk the hands back, bringing your wrists in line with your ankles, if possible.

4. Bend your elbows as you would in chaturanga. You can also try taking each of your big toes in a yogi toe lock with the corresponding hand.

You can pull gently on your toes to deepen your forward bend. Another alternative is to walk your hands back beyond your ankles while keeping your arms straight.

5. Try bringing your body weight forward into the balls of your feet to keep your hips in the same plane as your ankles.

6. Engage your quadriceps and draw them upwards.

7. Stay here for five to ten breaths, lengthening your spine on your inhalations and deepening your forward bend on your exhalations.

8. To come out, bring your hands onto your hips and keep your back flat as you come up to stand.

Beginners' Tips:

1. Take blocks under your hands if they don't come to the floor.

Advanced Tips:

1. If your head easily touches the floor, trying narrowing your stance for a deeper hamstring stretch.

2. If your head is on the floor, you may come up into a tripod headstand.

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