how to step to the front of your mat“Step to the front of your mat.” That sound easy. It sounds like something that you should be able to do without much struggle. Yet, I remember how I failed to step to the front of the mat when I first started practicing yoga.

The more I practiced this action, the more I paid attention to what I was actually doing, the easier it got. After about a month of trying to figure things out on my own, my teacher explained what to do. Here’s how she taught me to step to the front of the mat in one step.

How to Step to the Front of the Mat

  1. Frequently, when you’re asked to step to the front of the mat, you’re in a position where your hands and feet are both on the mat. Often, you’re moving from Plank pose or Downward facing dog, but those aren’t the only times that you’ll need this skill. For our purpose, though, we’ll pretend that you’re moving from Downward facing dog.
  2. (Optional step) While you’re in Downward facing dog, some people like to lift the leg that’s moving to the front of the mat. They come into Three-legged dog and reach the leg behind them. This helps engage the abdominals and create some extra space in the torso.
  3. Whether you’re moving from Three-legged dog or Downward facing dog, start hinging forward into a Plank position.
  4. Push the floor away with straight, strong arms.
  5. Draw your belly button toward your spine.
  6. Puff into your low back as if you were doing your absolute best to lift your torso (and especially your belly) away from the ground. This space allows room for your leg to come forward.
  7. Really pull your abs toward your spine as you bring your leg forward and plant your foot. If you need to do some adjusting or small hops to get your foot how you’d like, that’s okay. As long as your form is correct, your body will start to adjust so that you can move your leg smoothly to the front of the mat.
  8. If you’re completely stepping to the front of the mat (not just sending one foot forward), shift your weight toward your front leg and let your back leg float up and land beside your grounded leg.

What’s the Trick?

The trick is to really hollow out your abs. Honestly, the more space you can create for your thigh to move up toward your chest, the easier this whole process is going to be. If you feel like your hips are too tight to really get your thigh up toward your chest, work on poses like Happy baby to help create openness.

Don’t be afraid to warm-up with Happy baby before your class even gets started. This pose is quite safe, even if you’ve got a cold body.

Video of How to Step to the Front of the Mat

Here is a video for visual learners.

Hey, yogis! Do you have some other pointers for how to step to the front of your mat in one step? Share your tips with us in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.