“By drawing our sense of perception inward, we are able to experience the control, silence, and quietness of the mind.” B.K.S. Iyengar
Hey, does anybody out there need to relax?
If you’re waving your hand wildly, join us this week for some yoga sequences that soothe your nervous system, reduce anxiety, and lengthen the entire posterior side of your body. Forward folds are introspective postures that will help you quiet your mind’s chatter and relax.
During a well-rounded yoga practice, you move your body throughout a range of positions including forward folds, back bends, spinal rotation, and lateral movement. By choosing to emphasize forward bends in a practice, you’ll primarily cool your system down, inside and out. A few key pointers will make sure you maximize the benefits of this family of asanas and avoid injury to your lower back and hamstrings.
Alignment is key in forward bends. If you’re newer to yoga or simply have tight hamstrings genetically or from other activities, it can be tempting to force yourself to reach your toes. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold) and Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold) are two of the most common yoga poses and they offer a wide array of benefits. Hinging from the hips as opposed to rounding in the middle back is step number one.
Please don’t ever lock your joints––if you try to keep your legs straight or lock your knees, you can injure your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. Develop the habit of always starting with your knees slightly bent and if everything feels good, feel free to straighten. But soft knees are always an excellent option, as long as you’re experiencing positive sensation.
While supple hamstrings are great, the benefits go deeper than your muscles. Forward folds tap into your parasympathetic nervous system which controls your ability to relax and decompress. It’s easier to control your Drishti gaze in forward folds, which allows you to filter out distractions and direct your awareness inside. Some yogis find folding inward more challenging because in that position, there’s nowhere to go to escape what’s weighing down your mind or heart. Spending time in forward folds will aid you in processing emotions and ultimately releasing them.
Last but not least, spending time in forward bends compresses the internal organs. Forward bends can act as a massage of your internal organs and aid in healthy digestion and elimination. We all want to keep our energy flowing, both physically, emotionally, and mentally. If you’re ready to fine-tune your alignment and prevent injury while also soothing your soul, try this week’s classes curated just for you!
Ellen Kaye - Fine Tune Your Forward Fold
Kristen Boyle - Alignment Guru: Forward Fold and Half Lift
Patrick Montgomery - Focus on Form: Forward Folds
Jack Cuneo - Ashtanga Standing Postures
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