Summer is officially over and with the crisp air of autumn comes much shift. With the changing of seasons and cooler weather upon us, we can also become susceptible to sickness and burnout if we don’t take care of ourselves and make our health and wellness a priority. Seated Forward Bend pose is a relatively basic pose with many benefits, including keeping us grounded and calm amidst flux.
Benefits Of Seated Forward Bend Pose
As a forward folding posture, Seated Forward Bend pose is calming and relaxing, and can help with stress, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and mild depression. Physically, the pose stretches the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings, stimulates the internal organs, and can also improve digestion and help to ease menstrual discomfort.
Seated Forward Bend Pose Step-By-Step
- Begin seated in Staff pose (Dandasana), with both legs extended straight out in front of you, spine long. Press your heels actively down into the ground and flex your feet.
- Inhale to extend your arms up overhead and sit tall, rooting through the sitting bones and lifting out through the crown of the head.
- As you exhale, hinge at your hips to fold forward over your legs, maintaining a sense of length along your spine. Lead with your heart and let the hands hold on to whatever is accessible while keeping a flat upper back: the calves, ankles, or perhaps even the outer edges of the feet.
- Avoid the tendency to collapse the chest and round the spine here in an effort to move deeper into your fold. Keep your shoulders back and relaxed away from your ears, broaden across the collarbones, and reach your sternum forward toward your toes.
- With every inhale, find more length along your spine and front body; with every exhale, move more deeply into your forward fold.
- Remain in the pose anywhere from 5 to 20 deep breaths. On an inhale, slowly make your way back to an upright position.
- If the hamstrings are feeling unhappy, try using a folded blanket, foam block or bolster just underneath the sit bones to offer some lift and support.
- If it feels challenging to reach for the feet, loop a strap around the balls of the feet and hold on to the ends of the strap with your arms fully extended. Keep your spine long and your chest lifted, and walk your hands lightly along the strap as you start to open up rather than using the strap to pull your upper body forward.
- To deepen the pose, clasp the right wrist with the left hand around the soles of the feet, or place a block in front of your feet and hold on to the edges of the block.