Aaaaahhhhhhhhh ... that’s the sound of a forward fold. This introspective movement, turning towards the self, is known to bring release and calm to the nervous system, as well as the entire body. From the achilles, through the hamstrings, and into the back body, nothing brings release quite like a standing forward fold.
To come into this posture, stand tall with the hands on hips. Inhale deeply to lengthen the spine, and on your exhale bend forward from the hip joints, (not the waist.) Place your awareness on lengthening the front body as you move more deeply into the fold.
If possible, keep the knees straight, but not locked. If because of tight hamstrings or a tender lower back this isn’t possible, softly bend the knees. Either cross your forearms and hold your elbows, or wrap the arms around the legs.
With each inhalation in the pose, lift and lengthen the torso slightly; with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward fold. Importantly, let your head hang heavy. Allow gravity and the weight of the head to release tension from the upper back and between the shoulder blades.
Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
When you release from the posture, bring your hands back onto your hips and on an inhalation roll back up to standing
Entire back body including the calves, hamstrings and lower back
- Lengthens the hamstrings and calves
- Releases lower back
- Releases shoulder blades and supporting musculature
- Elongates the spine
- Stress reduction
- Stimulation the liver and kidneys
- Strengthens the thighs and knees
- Improves digestion
- Relieves the symptoms of menopause
- Reduces fatigue and anxiety
- Relieves headache and insomnia
- Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, infertility, osteoporosis, and sinusitis
If you have suffered a back injury only do this pose with bent knees, or with your hands against the wall, legs perpendicular to your torso, and arms parallel to the floor.