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Forward Bends for Intermediate Students

Intermediate to advanced level forward bend session in the studio.

Contents

Introduction

This is an intermediate to advanced level class focussing on forward bends. The sequence is pretty dynamic and involves lots of advanced forward bends that will have to be modified to suit students of lower levels.

View sequence

Supta Virasana
Reclining Hero Pose
Lay on your back with your legs bent, your toes pointing backward.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Baddha Konasana
Bound Angle Pose
Bring your feet as close as possible to your pelvis and join them together. Straighten your back and let gravity pull your knees down toward the floor. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Virasana Forward into Adho Mukha Svanasana
Forward Facing Hero Pose into Downward Facing Dog Pose
Back and forward transition from Virasana Forward to Adho Mukha Svanasana. Change poses on the breath, attempt to go deeper into each pose with every repetition.
Adho Mukha Vrksasana
Handstand
Open your hands into the floor and strengthen your arms as you lift your body up, one leg at a time, into an inverted balance. Use the wall for support if necessary. If pushing yourself up proves to be too difficult, you can walk your feet up the wall.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Pincha Mayurasana
Feathered Peacock Pose
Spread your weight evenly across your forearms, activate your shoulders, and lengthen your spine as you lift yourself into this inverted balance. Use wall support if needed. You can also wrap a belt around your arms to keep them steady.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Utthita Trikonasana
Extended Triangle Pose
Keep the toes and kneecap of your left leg pointed forward and, keeping your spine straight and long, stretch over your leg. Place your left hand on your ankle or on a block next to your foot. Look up towards your extended right arm.
Parsvottanasana
Pyramid Pose
Place your feet one leg-length apart, your back foot angled out slightly. Keep your legs straight as you start to fold over your front leg, maintaining a concave spine for as far into the bend as possible.
Parivritta Trikonasana
Revolved Triangle Pose
Start off with your legs spread out as for Triangle Pose. Then, take your left hand to your right foot and twist.
Parsvottanasana
Pyramid Pose
Place your feet one leg-length apart, your back foot angled out slightly. Keep your legs straight as you start to fold over your front leg, maintaining a concave spine for as far into the bend as possible.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Head Down)
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Plant your feet as wide apart as you can. Place your hands on the floor and lengthen forward through your spine. Once you have achieved the concave spine, start to walk your hands backward to capacity, aiming to lengthen and release your spine as evenly as possible.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Salamba Sirsasana Wall Support
Headstand 1
Activate your shoulders and upper back muscles as you lift your body up into inverted balance. Use the wall for support if necessary.
Parsva Sirsasana
Side Headstand
As you hold your balance in Sirsasana, tilt your feet to the side. Use your core to twist to capacity.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Dandasana
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Janu Sirsasana
Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
Bend your knee out to the side and keep your sit-bones pointing downward as you stretch out over your extended leg. Use a belt if necessary.
Forward Bends for Intermediate Students
Half Bound Lotus Forward Fold
Start in Dandasana. Bend your left knee and place the foot onto your thigh right thigh-crease. Reach your left hand behind your back to grab hold of your big toe. Pull your abdomen in, reach forward, and grab your right foot with your right hand. Change sides and repeat.
Dandasana
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Triang Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottanasana
Three-Limbed Forward Bend
Bend your left knee so your foot points straight back as you extend your right leg forward. Release your spine as you reach out to grab a hold of your extended foot. Use a belt if necessary. Repeat on both sides.
Forward Bends for Intermediate Students
Heron Pose
Start in Dandasana. Bend one leg back into Virasana. Extend the other leg upward, so that, ideally, your shin joins your head. Use a belt if necessary.
Forward Bends for Intermediate Students
Double Toe Hold
Start in a seated position. Bend your knees and grab a hold of your big toes. Extend your legs up and balance yourself on your coccyx to assume a V-shape with your body. Pull your abs in, activate your core, open your chest. If you cannot reach your ankles, use a belt to help you reach your feet.
Forward Bends for Intermediate Students
Upward Facing Intense Stretch Pose
Balance on your buttocks as you bring your legs up, aiming to reach your shins with your head. Draw your abs in and extend upwards through the crown of your head and the tips of your toes.
Dandasana
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Paschimottanasana
Seated Forward Bend
Make sure the backs of your legs are pressed firmly to the ground as you bend over to reach your feet. Release the spine. Use a belt if necessary.
Baddha Konasana
Bound Angle Pose
Bring your feet as close as possible to your pelvis and join them together. Straighten your back and let gravity pull your knees down toward the floor. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
Bharadvajasana I
Bharadvaja's Twist
Bring your legs to one side. Place one hand on the knee - this will help you deepen the twist. The other hand can be placed on the floor, helping you twist even deeper. Alternatively, you can bring it behind your back until it joins the elbow of the other arm. Stretch upwards through the crown of your head.
Forward Bends for Intermediate Students
Marichi's Pose III
Hook your elbow around your knee and twist. Keep your sit-bones pointed downward.
Sarvangasana
Shoulderstand
Activate your arms and shoulders as you lift your body up perpendicular to the floor. Use blankets or bolsters to support your shoulders. Make sure the back of your neck stays relaxed and maintains its natural curve.
Ekapada Sarvangasana
One-Legged Shoulderstand Pose
Activate your shoulders and lift your body up into a straight line. Place your hands on your back to help you keep your balance. Keeping your body straight and your hips aligned, bring one foot down behind your head.
Halasana
Plough Pose
Use support under your shoulders. Keeping your shoulders open, lift your hips up high above your head, dropping your feet down behind you. Place your hands on your back to help keep it from rounding.
Forward Bends for Intermediate Students
Ear Pressure Pose
Start with your hips raised high over your head (in Halasana), your shoulders resting on the floor, or some blankets, your legs stretched out behind your head. Bend your knees and bring your thighs down so they are positioned on either side of your head. Breathe and feel your lower back release.
Supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Supported Bridge Pose
Lie down over support placed under the whole of your body from the thoracic spine down to your knees. The shoulders swoop down to touch the floor. Spread your arms outward or slightly at your side. Activate your feet and press them into the wall.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Savasana
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.