Get the blood flowing in your body with Yoga!
Forward bends not only stretch your back from heels to head, they send rejuvenating blood flowing to your brain, face and abdominals – and they can be done in the privacy of your own home!
“I guide my body gently on the path to perfection.”
During a forward bend, the whole body is stretched from the back of the heels to the back of the head. The entire spine is exercised and with this comes revitalisation of the nervous system, in particular the sciatic nerve which runs down the leg. In standing forward bends, gravity assists the bodys extension and, with the increased supply of blood to the head, there is a rejuvenating effect on the brain and facial tissues as it is below the trunk, therefore it can relieve headaches and depression.
“The physical compression which results from the forward poses, stimulates the liver, kidneys, colon, bladder and pancreas.”
The folding forward motion, whether from a standing, kneeling or sitting position, is done from the hips, beginning with a good rotation or hinge-like movement in the hip joints. Then the back starts to work, maintaining a straight line in the spine with the forward stretch. While in this pose, you should make yourself aware of the muscular contraction preventing further stretching, then, by relaxing this tightness gradually, move deeper into the stretch.
Forward bends also bring an increase in blood supply to the pelvic area, enhancing circulation to the abdomen. The physical compression, which results from the forward poses, stimulates the liver, kidneys, colon, bladder and pancreas. The reproductive system is gently toned, hence these positions are excellent for relief of menstrual discomfort. Peristalsis – the rhythmic muscular contractions of the digestive system – is stimulated which can correct constipation, reduce adipose (fat tissue) around the waist and abdomen, and strengthened the abdominals.
On the emotional and spiritual level, folding forward is an introverted movement, hence we have an opportunity to consider our inner environment eg. by perceiving our heart beat we can become in touch with the true messages from our heart, bypassing the intellectual schemes of the mind. Also, the two poles of the body are brought together – head and toes – symbolising balance of our polarities.
Forward stretches reflect the action of bowing, traditionally an expression of respect, humility and surrender. When we practise these poses with the correct attitude, we accept how we are now and surrender into the posture with respect for ourselves, others and creation.