When correctly performed, forward bends benefit the spine. Physiologically, the entire spine is stretched while the fronts of the thighs are kept tight. They create space in the waist, groin, abdomen and lower back.
Emotionally, forward bends are calming. They create a safe, enclosed space to relax and let go. They may also bring up emotions which creates an impulse to pull out of them quite quickly. Forward bends in yoga are also associated with looking into the past. Treating yourself with respect, being sensitive to your body and monitoring your breathing helps to overcome this resistance and leads to pure feelings of relaxation.
An example of a forward bend
Once the mind is balanced as well as calm that state of inner calm is shown through the body in ease and flow throughout the movement.
In the balancing asanas, the physical limits of your muscular capacity, as well as the mental limits of your sense of balance, are tested. The only way to really find balance is to stay calm, focus on your breath and orient your mind totally into the present moment.
How to do Pandangusthasana (Hand to Big Toe Pose)
Pandangusthasana is a beautiful pose which almost everyone hates as it challenges both beginners in addition to experienced yogis. Not to be confused with the pandangusthasana displayed in the Ashtanga tradition, this toe stand is an imaginative examination of a tip-toe urdhva namaskarasana! You require so many tools in order to maintain balance in toe stand for long time periods:
- Hip and foot flexibility,
- Hip and foot strength,
- Excellent posture,
- Incredibly strong legs, as well as
- Focus and a steady gaze.
No matter what the degree of expertise you have, this pose is going to show you where you need to work. It will show you the muscles that are strong, where you’re not strong, where you’re supple in addition to where you’re holding tension.
The effects of this forward bend are:
- Strengthens the thighs
- Abdominal organs are toned and digestion improves
- Liver and spleen are activated
- Calms the brain and assists with relieving stress and anxiety
The Hand to Big Toe Pose helps with bloatedness, menopause, headaches and insomnia. Slipped spinal discs can only be adjusted while performing the concave postures.
- Begin in Tadasana.
- Step your feet hip-distance apart.
- Exhale, bend forward and hold your big toes with your index finger and thumb. Make sure that your palms are facing each other.
- Keep your head up, press your diaphragm towards your chest and make your back as concave as possible with your chest parallel to the floor.
- Bend forward from the pelvic area to get a concave shape from the coccyx.
- Keep your legs tight. Grip fast and stretch your shoulder blades back and down.
- Hold and take two deep breaths.
- Now exhale and bring your head in between your knees by bending your elbows and pulling on your toes without lifting them.
- Maintain for 30 seconds to two minutes and breathe normally.
- Inhale and come back to the concave position. Release your toes and stand up.
If you’re a beginner and you can’t reach the floor, loop a yoga strap around each artch for a handhold instead of bending your knees.
Deferrals and cautions
If you suffer from low blood pressure, come up slowly.
- Supta Padangusthasana
- Adho Muka Svanasana
- Standing poses
- Seated forward bends
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