True forward bending of the spine can be a source of great physical benefit. There is some subtlety involved, as doing a forward bend is not the same as just using gravity to forward fold. However, once this practice is implemented, one can experience many benefits. Here are 5 reasons to practice forward bending:
5. Maintain range of motion: For many of us, we don’t struggle with simple actions like tying our shoes… yet! Without maintaining (or trying to increase) range of motion we may come to the point where we can’t bend over enough to pick something up off the floor or tie our own shoes. Regular practice of forward bending the spine can help!
4. Lower your heart rate: Forward bending stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. Because of this, it can have a positive affect on lowering a high heart rate.
3. Strengthen your abdominal muscles: Many of us have very weak abdominal muscles. This is partially because we sit in chairs for so many hours a day. As we sit, we generally don’t maintain upright posture and our abdomen stays relaxed for hours on end. It doesn’t take long before our body forgets how to use it. Forward bending requires that you use your abdomen— specifically the rectus abdominis. By forward bending the spine, we can remind the body how to use this muscle and build the strength we all need.
2. Release your tight back: Many people live with a tight low back which can be very uncomfortable. Since the abdominal muscles act reciprocally to the back muscles, we can ease the back by strengthening and engaging the abs.
1. Calm down: When we forward bend, it has a calming effect on the body. Since many people are overstimulated, take in a lot of caffeine and have very high stress levels, forward bending is a great and simple way to feel calmer and more relaxed.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
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