Thursday, March 10, 2011

Forward bending, an analysis.

Before reading this post, look at the picture and think of 3 important points when bending forward.

1. The movement forward comes from the pelvis (not from the lower back).
2. The spine is supposed to be lenghtened. (It's not about rounding the back.)
3. The leg muscles are engaged, the backside of the legs get stretched. (Knees are not bended).

To engage the bandhas (pelvis floor and abdomen) when exhaling, when going deeper into the asana helps enormously. The breath of course plays a key role: inhaling means stretching forward, exhaling means going deeper into a pose.

The yogi/yogini  shall relax when in that pose, but this shall not lead to an inactivity of the muscles. It's possible to keep the muscles engaged (let's say 50% ) and to be relaxed at the same time. In order to relax, relax your face.

To bend forward is experienced as calming. To fold forward  reduces our sensations. The focus is the silence in our own middle.

This post was inspired by an article that I found in Yoga aktuell Feb/March about adjustments. It got so to the point that I had to summarize it here. The authors have a yoga studio in Hamburg. Here is the link.

PS: A correct done forward bending asana, even when it's modest, looks much more beautifully than when it's forced. I know it's difficult. When done correctly progress comes fast and it protects from injuries.

And for me it's time now to practice again: Primary is on the schedule. Oh yes, I'll practice with awareness. After my last injury, overstretched hamstrings, I know, nothing can be forced.

PS: I'm also on facebook and twitter. Links are on the right side of this blog.


Quentin said...

Seated forward fold Ashtanga version is about rounding the back and lovering head to knees, although some Ashtanga teachers (D. Swenson)say extend spine from base to crown of head and gaze at the toes. But the gaze point from how it was taught by D. Williams at his workshops is to gaze at the navel. Chin lock is shown by pictures of Krishnamacharya as a major bandha. When no instructions use neck lock in the poses. Gazing at naval does not put as much stress on the neck vertebrae. The Iyengar method says keep back straight, Ashtanga uses both versions.

Ursula said...

Thank you for sharing your knowledge Quentin.