Tight hamstrings are the bane of many of us, whether due to hard workouts or tons of sitting. That’s where a forward fold yoga routine can come in clutch: A routine that focuses on the forward fold, and on variations of the forward fold, can help you stretch those tight muscles in the back of your legs, as well as the surrounding areas.
That’s exactly what you’ll be doing in today’s Sweat With SELF video, which is the fourth installment of our Yoga for Beginners series. In this routine, aptly called “Forward Folds,” yoga instructor Rita Murjani—the chief of staff at mindful living brand Aduri who teaches at NYC-based studios SkyTing and Equinox—demonstrates a yoga routine based on variations of that vital pose. Throughout the course of the 40-minute beginner yoga routine, you’ll go through moves and flows that will really loosen up your tight hamstrings. These include downward dog (and three-legged dog), half moon pose, standing split, and legs up the wall (which, as Murjani shows, you can do with a yoga block if you don’t have an actual wall handy.)
Speaking of blocks, this routine will really put your yoga props to use. Yoga blocks will also help you get into a seated forward fold and a crescent lunge, as well as the legs up the wall pose. Murjani will also teach you how to use a blanket (folded into thirds) to function “like a high-heeled shoe”—your heels will rest on the blanket, with your toes on the floor, and you’ll move from squat to forward fold in a particularly effective flow.
So gather your props—a towel can work as a yoga blanket, and some books as blocks—and get ready for a loosening forward fold yoga routine! Then remember to check back next week for the fifth installment of Sweat With SELF’s Yoga for Beginners series.