How to Do the Seated Forward Bend

The seated forward bend is a popular pose that can thoroughly stretch the entire body from your calves up through your shoulder and neck area. 

This stretching pose will help to loosen tight hamstrings and the hips which ultimately helps to calm the mind and provide stress relief at the same time.

The Forward Bend can also help to improve your posture and increase the flexibility in the lower back and spine. This pose is usually done later in the class when your body is warmed up and you can take the pose deeper.

Seated Forward Bend

Exercise Instructions:

  • Begin seated with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Raise your arms above your head and begin to hinge at the waist toward your legs with a straight back. 

  • When you feel your back is about to round, surrender your chest to your legs only as far as comfortable while keeping your legs straight. 

seated forward bend


  • Beginners in yoga who have limited flexibility can rest on their forearms as they are bending forward at their hips. This will relieve some of the pressure and still provide effective results. 

  • The forward bend can be especially challenging for those with excessively tight hamstrings. It is vital that you listen to your body and never force yourself into a full forward bend before you are ready. 

  • The ultimate goal is to reach your nose to your shins, not your knees. Stopping at the knees will create a roundness in your back that will stop you from getting the full benefits of the stretch. 

  • Whenever you do a seated yoga pose, try and keep your feet flexed upward like in this picture. This foot alignment will keep your hamstrings highly active. You can also press the backs of your knees into the floor to exaggerate the stretch.

Benefits of the Seated Forward Bend

  • Stretches the hamstrings and can help to lengthen the spine
  • Can relieve back and sciatica nerve pain
  • Can calm the nerves and reduce stress and anxiety
  • Massages your internal organs and helps to stimulate your digestive system.

Seated Yoga Poses

Most seated yoga poses are especially fitting for individuals who have limited flexibility and can't see themselves bending all over the place. These poses target the hips, chest, and back and not the legs.

Seated poses can be especially good for relieving lower back pain if the poses are done on a regular basis. Beginning yoga students can take advantage of the easier sitting poses as they learn the different fundamentals of yoga.

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