If you're anything like me, you squirm at the thought of having to do a bunch of forward folds in yoga class. They're uncomfortable and my hamstrings always feel like they're liable to snap at any second. If you're nodding along in agreement then you'll want to pay close attention and become friends with your nearest yoga strap (or tie/belt/rolled up towel).
I quickly went over how to use yoga straps a few months ago but I wanted to revisit it and focus specifically on forward folds because I see these mistakes in class quite often.
Set up your alignment
Before you start using the strap, however, check in with the tilt of your pelvis and the angle of your low back. We want the low back to be flat, and to achieve this, we need to tilt the pelvis slightly forward. Doing that initiates length in the low back which will travel all the way up the spine so you'll avoid rounding too much and accidentally stretching the back rather than the hamstrings.
Use the yoga strap
Once the alignment of the spine and pelvis is in place, extend your legs and pick up the strap. Use two hands, and wrap the middle of the strap around the middle of the bottoms of your feet as shown above. Flex the toes and pull your upper body forward as you inch your hands closer to the feet. There will come a time (it might not be today) where you'll be able to grab your big toes or the sides of your feet and won't even need the strap. But until then, avoid these common mistakes and set yourself up for success. Happy stretching!
Let's talk: If you'd like to share, I'm interested in knowing what pose brings you the greatest struggle right now in your practice and why?