- Stand in Tadasana, hands on hips (feet together or hip width distance apart). Exhale and bend forward from the hip joints, not from the waist. As you descend draw the front torso out of the groins and open the space between the pubis and top sternum. As in all the forward bends, the emphasis is on lengthening the front torso as you move more fully into the position.
- If possible, with your knees straight, bend forward, wrap the index and middle fingers around the big toe, joining the thumb (“yogi grip”). With an inhalation straighten your arms and lift your front torso away from your thighs, making your back as concave as possible. Hold for a few breaths, then exhale and lengthen down and forward, bending your elbows out to the sides, using the biceps to assist going deeper into the pose. Keeping space between the shoulders and the ears, draw the shoulder blades down the back. Press the heels firmly into the floor and lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling. Turn the top thighs slightly inward.
- With each inhalation in the pose, lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly; with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. In this way the torso oscillates almost imperceptibly with the breath. Let your head hang from the root of the neck, which is deep in the upper back, between the shoulder blades. Stay in the position for 20 seconds.
- To come out of the pose, release the fingers, bring the hands to the hips and inhale, come up with a flat back.
If student can’t reach the toes, have them hold the backs of their calves or thighs