Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
1. My back is completely rounded! This is one of the biggest problems I see in this pose and can cause so much back pain! Make sure to always lift up through the front body and think about bending up and over your legs, instead of just folding at the waist. Always remember to keep your chest away from your stomach! Length is key here!
2. I am hyperextending (over straightening) my knees (ouch!). Did you know that you can be too flexible in yoga?! When you hyperextend your knees you put yourself at risk for major injuries and long term damage. Avoid this by strengthening the muscles around the knee by engaging the quadricep and lifting the knee cap. You can always put a slight bend in your knees as well! Not every pose needs to look picture perfect - it just needs to feel good!
3. My butt is behind my feet and I'm keeping tension in my neck and shoulders. Hips should always be stacked over your feet in this pose. By leaning your booty back you are creating tension all over your body. Your neck and shoulders should be relaxed down (never straining) and your gaze should be toward your legs! This should feel easy, not strenuous! Just let everything go!
PROP MODIFICATION: BLOCK
If you have lower back pain, try turning your feet inward to release the pain and use a block between your thighs to avoid hyperextension in the knees!