Why Do Forward Bends?
Forward bends typically have a calming effect on the mind, emotions, and nerves. These postures facilitate deep relaxation by stretching the muscles of the back, decreasing the stimulation of the sensory organs, and providing the fresh circulation of blood flow to the heart and brain. The pouring sensation of the hips, shoulders, and heart floating above the head is the most nourishing inversion anyone can do.
The Approach In:
When choosing forward bends, it's ideal to pick at least one posture that stretches the hamstrings, such as a standing forward fold (rag-doll forward fold), and one that opens the outer hips, like Cross-Legged Forward Bend. This will promote greater balance in your body by creating more range of movement in both regions. Settle into both postures for 8 to 10 slow, smooth, and relaxed breaths.
The Transition Out:
The transition out of a pose is just as imperative as the transition into a pose. To come out a forward fold, take 5-7 breaths to slowly roll back up, carefully restacking each vertebra (imagine your spinal column as building blocks that are being staked one at a time). Lastly, feel the alignment organically occur one step at a time: shoulders stack over the hips, skull stacks over the spinal column, and the crown of the skull floats above the tailbone.