How To Do Yoga Forward Bends

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Photo: sivananda.org

Now that we have covered inversions, let’s go into the next set of yoga poses in the Sivananda style of yoga; the forward bends.

From a simple observation, forward bend poses look very simple and easy but they do have very beneficial effects on the entire system.

It should be noted that there are several kinds of forward bend poses in yoga that you can practice such as the Janu Shirsha Asana or the head to knee forward bend pose, Pada Hasta asana or the forward bend hands and feet pose, Paschimottan asana or the forward bend pose and the Plough Pose (Halasana), but for simplicity’s sake we would stick to the last 2 for this article.

It is noteworthy of mention that all movements of the spine directly or indirectly give exercise to various internal organs and abdominal muscles
. Any forward bending of the spine vigorously contracts the abdominal muscles and backward bending exercises and stretches the abdominal muscles.

So let’s proceed with the two forward bending exercises for this article the Plough and Classic Forward Bend Pose

How to Do The Plough Pose (Halasana):

Lie flat on your back on the blanket.

Keep the hands, palms down near the thighs.

Without bending the knees, slowly raise the hips and the lumbar part of the back and bring down the legs till they touch the floor.

It’s a cousin of the shoulder stand as you’ll observe and shares many of the same benefits.

The Benefits of Plough Pose:

This Pose:

1. Alleviates insomnia.
2. Revitalizes the spleen and super anal glands.
3. Promotes production of insulin by the pancreas.
4. Regulates activities of the thyroid glands.

Suggested Duration: 15 seconds working up to 2 minutes.

Suggested Counterpose:

Bridge Pose (Sethu Bhandasana):

From the Plough Pose position, stretch the legs and slowly touch the floor with the feet. It is done to bend the spine in the opposite direction. Basically, you will be performing the back-bridge to the afore-mentioned shoulder stand but instead of the hands bracing the back, you should now grasp the ankles and stay in back-bridge position for half the time spent in the plough.

Upon completion go straight into the next pose.

Forward Bend (Paschimothanasana):

Lie flat on your back on the blanket, with arms overhead on the floor.

Keep the legs and thighs firmly on the floor.

Stiffen your body.

Slowly raise the head and the chest and assume a sitting position. Now exhale till you are able to catch you toes, ankles or heels. You may even bury your face in between your knees.

This Pose is a boon to mankind as it

-Relieves constipation

-Removes sluggishness of the liver, dyspepsia, belching and gastritis.

-Alleviates Piles and diabetes, corpulence and obesity.

_Tones the muscles of the abdomen, the solar plexus and the epigastria plexus are all toned.

Suggested Duration:

15 seconds working up to 2 minutes or as long as desired.

Suggested Counterpose:

Immediately after wards perform the next pose for half the time you spend in this one.

Inclined Plane Pose (Purvottanasana):
Rest on your hands on heels, keeping the body straight. Ensure that this counterpose is observed for half the time spent in the previous forward bending exercise.

-This simple pose strengthens the arms, opens the chest and relieves constipation.

Suggested Counterpose:
The Crocodile Corpse Pose

Lie on your abdomen with your head tucked inward and down, your forehead resting on top of your folded forearms/or sideways.

The legs are a comfortable distance apart, feet and toes pointing outward. Breathe fully, feeling the abdomen expanding downward with each inhalation and your hips and buttocks rising slightly upward with the exhalation.

*It is advised that you do NOT do the regular corpse pose where you are facing upwards for the simple reason that it hurts your back after a forward or backward bend, again, trust me, I’m speaking from experience and research.

Now that we are done with forward bending Yoga Exercises, we would now in the next article deal with backward bending poses.

Do note, they are inter-related, so yes see to it that you reference the backward bending article for your information.

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