Stretch of the Week: Head to Knee Forward Fold

By Athletico

This week’s stretch is called head to knee forward fold. Don’t let the name fool you! It can take years to actually get the forehead to the knee WITHOUT rounding in the back. Just do your best and be happy with where you are in it today :) This stretch is great for calming the mind, relieving mild depression/anxiety, simulating the liver/kidneys and also helps to improve digestion just to name a few benefits!

Things you may need for this stretch: a belt or strap, and 1-2 folded blankets or towels.

How to Complete the Head to Knee Forward Fold:

  1. Sit on the floor with both legs straight in front of you. If you have difficulty sitting up tall, place a folded blanket or towel just under the sit bones.
  2. Bend your right knee, and draw the heel back toward your body, as far up the along the thigh as you comfortably can.
  3. Rest your right foots sole against your inner left thigh. The outside of the right leg will lay on the floor. If your right knee does not rest comfortably on the floor, support it by putting an additional folded blanket or towel underneath it.
  4. Line up your belly button with the middle of the left thigh.
  5. Gently push the right knee towards the floor as you sit tall. If you are already feeling a stretch in the hamstring and inner right thigh in this position then just stay here. If you would like to deepen the stretch you can use a strap to help you fold. Place the strap around the ball mound of the foot as shown in the top photo. One strap end in each of your hands held gently, no death grip here!
  6. As you Exhale, pull the belly button in and keep the torso tall and extend forward from the groins, (low belly) not the hips.
  7. Be sure NOT to pull yourself forcefully into the forward fold with your arms, rounding the back and shortening the front torso, as shown in the bottom right photo. This will put too much strain on the low back.
  8. As you fold, bend your elbows out to the sides and lift them away from the floor. Lengthen forward to your comfort level into the stretch. The lower belly should touch the thighs first, the forehead last as shown in the bottom left photo.

head to knee forward fold

Remember folding that deep in it will take time. Stay in the stretch anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes. Come up with an inhalation and repeat on the other leg for same amount of time.

Do not do this stretch if have you a severe knee injury. Make sure you are supporting the knee with a blanket/towel if you have a slight injury here.

Athletico Physical Therapy