Bending forward is a passive process in which gravity is utilised to stretch the muscle groups being focused upon. These postures loosen up the back, maintaining good health and increasing vitality.
Forward Bends are done in standing or seated positions. The technique of bending forward correctly is crucial for safely achieving a proper posture. It’s important to bend forward from the hip and not the waist. Bending from the hip gives greater flexibility and movement and creates a stronger pressure against the abdomen. One should be careful not to force the back to bend further than one’s flexibility allows. Regular and consistent practice will give flexibility to even the most rigid back.
When practicing forward bends in a seated position, especially if the legs are separated, one should sit with the perineum on the floor, rather than sitting on the coccyx. To get the ideal position, sit with the legs slightly separated and place your hands on the floor, on either side of the hips, with the fingertips pointing forward. Then using the arms and hands as supports, lift the buttocks slightly from the floor and while lowering them tilt the pelvis forward.
After a basic understanding of proper alignment for the forward bends, a few of these poses can be practiced. If correctly done, they can have deeply beneficial benefits on the mind and body.
Some of the forward bends are:-
- Standing, head between knees pose [Utthita Janu Sirasana]
- Wide leg forward fold [Prasarita Pada-Uttan-tanasana]
- Head to knee pose [Janu Shirsh-asana]
- Half lotus back stretching pose [Ardha Badha Padma Paschima-uttana-asana]
- Back stretching pose [Paschima-uttana-asana]
- Legs spread back stretch pose [Pada Prasar Paschima-uttana-asana]
- Sage Pose [Marichi-asana -1]
- Butterfly pose [Baddha Kona-asana]
- Wide leg forward fold pose [Upavishta Kona-asana]
- Turtle pose [Kurma-asana]
So submit yourself to relaxation while performing the forward bends, making them a regular part of your daily practice.
Neelanjana Bharadwaj – Yoga Expert