Exhale fold forward, inhale....halfway lift!
The halfway lift that follows most forward folds is great for stretching your hamstrings, calves, and hips. Here are two key tips for the next time you inhale into your halfway lift:
1. Keep your back flat (spine is long) and neck in a neutral position. Your gaze should be down toward your mat or the floor.
2. You DO NOT need to keep your fingers on the ground! If your hamstrings are tight and your knees are bent in forward fold, bring your hands to your shins or just above your knees on your halfway lift. From here, you can work on straightening your legs. As you practice, you can move your hands from your legs down to yoga blocks placed on either side of your feet.
The biggest tip we can give you is to not compromise your back by rounding over for the sake of having your fingers on the mat or legs straight if you (and your hamstrings) aren't there yet. Not only could you end up hurting your lower back, but you also risk pulling your hamstrings, neither of which would be beneficial to your or the rest of your practice!