This series of postures helps to keep the back supple, joints mobile, nervous system invigorated, and the internal organs toned. During a forward bend the spine is moved into the position known as the primary curve, the shape it takes in the womb. This action creates space between each vertebrae, stimulates the nerves, improves circulation and nourishes the spinal cord.
Forward bending is a passive process in which gravity is utilized to stretch. Muscles resist strain and force so it is important to practice with care and ease, allowing the body to gradually release.
For most of the forward bending asanas it is encouraged to bend from the hips. This gives greater flexibility of movement and creates a stronger pressure against the abdomen. As the abdomen is compressed the abdominal organs are massaged and a fresh flush of blood and oxygen pumps through the entire digestive system. This is a highly effective way to detoxify the body, naturally resulting in better digestion, increased energy, and even weight loss.
Forward bending poses are associated with humility and surrender. They introvert the awareness, promote full exhalation and induce relaxation. As the body is folded forward, the breath calms, the heart rate slows and thoughts settle. These natural responses relieve stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility, and sinusitis, this group of poses aims to calm, centre and restore the body, mind and soul.
Please note that forward bends are not recommended for anyone with herniated or bulging discs, sciatica, or sacroiliac pain.