June Greetings, fellow yogis.
Could it be that summer has finally arrived? Have you stepped onto your mat today? Here’s a thought, grab that mat and head outside! There’s nothing more calming that doing yoga outside!
Last month I talked about chair pose, a powerful pose that works the legs and abs. This month I’d like to talk about standing forward fold, the counter pose to the chair pose. In very simple terms, a counter pose is a pose that stretches your spine in the opposite direction from a previous pose or returns your spine to a neutral position.
A standing forward fold alleviates the strain in the legs after doing/holding chair pose that gives a much-needed break to the legs, but this pose is not just done after chair pose. To be honest, a typical yoga class has many forward folds. What you will notice most in a forward fold is that it stretches your hamstrings and calves. I like to start my class with a forward fold, let my students see how tight they may be. I like to throw a forward fold in somewhere near the end, as well, so my students can see and feel how much they have loosened up. Again, yoga is all about body awareness.
Other physical benefits:
- Lengthens the spinal column
- Strengthens the feet, knees & thighs
- Stimulates the digestive, reproductive, nervous & endocrine systems
- Opens the hips & groins
- Alleviates discomfort from sinusitis
- Relieves menopausal discomfort, headache, insomnia & fatigue
- Soothes the nervous system
- Relieves stress, anxiety & mild depression
If you have a job that requires you to sit for multiple hours a day, the standing forward fold is a great pose/stretch to take multiple times throughout the day for additional chances to take advantage of those physicial and mental benefits. Can’t fold “all the way down?” No problem! Use a chair! Fold forward and let your hands (or head) come to the seat of a chair.
Some pointers to keep in mind:
- Keep feet hip distance apart
- Hinge at the hips, not the waist
- Keep your core engaged (pulled up & in) to protect your low back
- Keep shoulder blades on your back and shoulders down, away from your ears
Have a great month and a safe & happy 4th of July. I’ll check in next month- maybe I’ll find a firecracker pose or at least a pose that will light you up!