As both a forward fold and an inversion, the benefits of standing straddle are vast.
It’s a pose with many names. But whether you’re calling it a wide-legged forward bend, prasarita padottanasana, straddle fold, or standing straddle — you’ll reap the same benefits. With regular practice, you’ll experience a calmer mind, improved digestion, relief from backaches, and a calmer nervous system.
Standing straddle offers physical benefits as well. Strengthen and stretch your abdominals, hamstrings, calves, hips, low back and spine. Depending on the positioning of your arms, you can also tone your shoulders, wrists, forearms, and upper back.
Here is how to do a wide-legged forward bend:
- Step your feet out wide and parallel. You may need to push your heels out a little bit.
- As you inhale, grow tall through the crown of your head and then hinge forward toward the floor.
- To increase your upper body work, drop your head toward the floor and widen your elbows toward your knees.
- Take several deep breaths. If you need to, bend your knees slightly as you inhale.
- To release the pose, lift your head and bring your hands through your waist. Push down strong through your feet as you return to a standing position.
To see wide-legged forward bend in action, check out this short video, featuring one of Mercy Health’s certified advanced yoga instructors, Mary Geibel. If you’re interested in further deepening your practice, take a yoga class at a Mercy Healthplex, or check out our video on Downward-Facing Dog.