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Foundational forward bend and seated sequence

A basic forward-bend sequence to quieten the nervous system.

Contents

Introduction

This is a standalone sequence that can be adapted to suit students of practically any level. After a brief standing-pose-based warm-up, we’ll focus on foundation seated poses and forward bends.

Seated poses are great for improving flexibility in the hamstrings and strengthening the spine. This is why seated sequences can have such a noticeable effect on our practice in general. Everything in yoga is interconnected so it’s important to return to certain pose types after more or less regular intervals: this way we can ensure that all our muscles and joints remain equally mobile and flexible and our practice remains smooth.

View sequence

Supta Baddhakonasana
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Join your feet together, your heels pressed to your pelvis. Lie back over a bolster or other form of support. Relax and let your chest open. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
Simple Cross Legs Forward
Sit with your legs crossed. Keep your sit-bones pointing down as you stretch your arms forward to capacity, lengthening your spine.
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.
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.
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.
Headstand Preparation with Blocks
Headstand Preparation
Place your forearms flat on the floor next to a wall and interlock your fingers behind the back of your skull. Keeping your head on the floor and your back straight, start to walk your feet closer toward your trunk. Straighten your back and pull your hips up to capacity. This can also be done with your feet to 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 head on the floor or on a block.
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.
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 head on the floor or on a block.
Supta Padangusthasana I
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Press your back body into the floor, point the kneecap and toes of your supine leg toward the ceiling, as you extend the other leg up over your hip. Use a belt if needed.
Supta Padangusthasana II
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Lie down on your back. Point kneecap and toes on your left leg upward, as you stretch your right leg out to the side. Use a belt if necessary. Change sides.
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.
Upavistha Konasana
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Use support under buttocks if your inner groins roll backward. Kneecaps and all ten toes face the ceiling. Keep your hands by your by hips, fingers pointing forwards. Lengthen your spine. Once you have mastered these foundations, you can also bend forward while reaching your feet with your hands. Use a belt if necessary.
Upavistha Konasana Twist
Wide-Angle Seated Twist
Start in Upavistha Konasana with the legs wide apart and the spine upright. Keep extending your spine up through the crown of your head as you twist to each side. Use a belt if you feel your back rounding.
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.
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.
Marichyasana I
Marichi's Pose I
Bend your left knee, placing the foot by your buttock as you extend the right leg forward. Then, reach your arms behind your back, looping your left arm over and around your bent knee. Join your hands behind your back. Bend forward to capacity. Repeat on both sides.
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.
Simple Cross Legs Twist
Sit with your legs crossed and back straight. Place your hand onto the opposing knee and, staying tall through the crown of your head, look over your shoulder as you twist.
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.
Halasana (Arms Extended)
Half Plough Pose
Activate your shoulders as you lift your hips up overhead and place your feet on chair support behind your head.
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.
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.
Neck release over blocks
Place support in the form of blocks or folded up blankets beneath your back all the way from your thoracic to your lumbar spine. Your shoulders and head should be allowed to release down toward the floor. Relax in this pose. Start with knees bent, eventually extending your legs out in front of you. Use support under your head if you feel excess strain in your neck.
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 head 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.