Bending forward is a familiar action in our everyday lives, so why are forward bending asana so challenging? Our daily routine involves a lot of outward focus with the task at hand; bending down to pick up something, or hunching at our desks and computers while reading important emails.
A mindful forward bend, moved into with presence and awareness is calming and cooling. To maintain alignment in the spine your gaze is guided to look inward, into yourself. That may explain why I find my mind wonders in forward bends more then other asana, my ego is bored and wanting to move on, while my true nature is grasping for stillness in the mind and openness in the body – with practice and patience stillness with come.
The action of a forward bend curves the spine creating space between the vertebra, benefiting the nervous system and improving circulation around the spine. The abdominal organs that directly benefit from this action are the: intestines, pancreas, kidneys, liver, spleen, stomach and gallbladder. Anatomically, the hamstrings and inner leg muscles are lengthened, the knees and front of the legs are strengthened and the back muscles are kept supple. Forward bends help with digestion, body temperature, menstruation and well being.
Examples: Uttanasana (Standing forward bend) Balasana (Child’s pose) Paschimottanasana (Seated forward bend)