Forward bending asana is free-flowing motion using earth’s gravity.It exhibits your outgoing nature, where you meet people gregariously. It is always followed by backward bending asanas.

Duality in nature is universal. You find push ‘n’ pull, static ‘n’ dynamic and forward bending ‘n’ backward bending. These are complementary to each other. The opposite poles attract each other, which is the foundation of all relationship. Similarly, the combination of forward bending and backward bending asanas can correct your posture with spine supple and healthy.

You might have noticed that in free fall of body in bungee jumping, it’s the gravitational force of earth which pulls the body towards its centre. It involves no external force. But, when a satellite is launched in orbit, it needs external force to overcome gravity and air resistance. Forward bending asana represents your outgoing nature in taking initiative to meet stranger.

Forward & backward bending asanas constitute the yoga teacher training course in India.   Backward bending is alike ascending a mountain, while forward bending asana is descending the mountain. It works against the nature’s gravitational force, but the forward bending asanas utilizes gravity. While practicing any forward asanas, you bend from hips, and not from waist.

  • Connected with hatha yoga asanas
  • Expression of hope & positivity
  • Purification of body
  • Bend in effortless movement
  • Making curve from hips
  • Nurture your spinal cord

Following are the most common forward bending asanas:

Paschimottanasana (back stretching pose)

“Paschimo” is a Sanskrit word which means back and “ottana” stands for stretching and asana stands for pose. Hence, the term “paschimottanasana” stands for back stretching pose. It also corresponds to the sushmana nadi which runs along the spinal cord starting from base chakra to top chakra. This forward bending pose is also known as paschima marga or western path.

How to start:

  • Sit with legs stretched out on the surface
  • Place your hands on knees with joined feet
  • Relax & gently forward from your hips
  • Move your hands to grasp the toes
  • Gently hold the heels without force or strain
  • Hold final position as long as you can
  • Bend your elbows & rest on the surface
  • Bring the trunk towards the trunk
  • Maintain the grip on toes & feet
  • Touch the knees with the forehead
  • Hold this final position for few seconds
  • This is one round. Practice for 5 rounds
  • Inhale initially & exhale for forward motion

Precaution:

Avoid this asana if you are suffering from asthma, sciatica and slipped disc.

Benefits

  • Cures back pain & arthritic pain
  • Improve abdominal organ
  • Increases flexibility in hip joints
  • Kidney & liver improve
  • Helps in reducing weight
  • Induces suppleness to spine
  • Control your diabetes
  • Eliminate constipation
  • Primary to kundalini yoga

Pada Prasar Paschimottanasana (legs spread back stretch pose)

“Pad” is a Sanskrit word which means legs, and “prasar” signify legs, while “pachimo” stands for west or back side of human body, “uttana” stands for stretch or extended and asana for pose. You normally inhale in the initial position, and exhale while bending in the forward direction. Yogic breathing is deep & slow in this hatha yoga asana series.

How to start:

  • Sit on floor with legs spread as per your capacity
  • Intertwine the fingers of both arms behind back
  • Slowly twirl your trunk to your right without strain
  • Lift your joined arms placed behind the back
  • With straight arms turn forward over right leg
  • Touch the knees with your forehead resting on it
  • Hold the final position for comfortable time
  • Lower your arms, return to initial position
  • This is one round. Practice for 5 rounds

Precautions:

Those suffering from asthma, abdominal surgery, intense back injury, sciatica and slipped disc. Consult physician first and practice under competent yoga master.

Benefits

  • Improve the functioning of liver
  • Beneficial for diabetic patients
  • Ease the menstrual discomfort
  • Helps in soothing kidney disorder
  • Reduces mental tension & anxiety
  • Lowers the high BP
  • Stir second base chakra on spiritual level

Janu Sirshasana (head to knee pose)

“Janu” is a Sanskrit word which means knee, and “sirsa” signify head, while “asana” stands for yogic pose, thus the name head to knee pose. It is a seated asana and one of the basic in ashtanga yoga. It is different from common sirshana and it starts with empty stomach.  Inhale as you start asana, and exhale while moving forward. Breathe normally as you progress.

How to start:

  • Sit on floor with legs spread as per your capacity
  • Bend left leg & place its heel against perineum
  • Your left knee should be on the floor
  • Move body forward with hands on top of right knee
  • Slightly bend forward with hands sliding on right leg
  • Grasp the right foot with hold on big toe
  • Your back should be relaxed with no strain
  • Hold the final position for few seconds
  • Repeat the same with your right leg
  • This is one round. Practice for 5 rounds

Precautions:

Those suffering from sciatica, diarrhea, asthma and slipped disc.  

Benefits

  • Prepare you for meditation
  • Reduce excess abdominal muscles
  • Regulate menstrual disorders
  • Shapes your shoulders & hamstrings
  • Enhances your agility & awareness
  • Strengthen the back muscles

Ardha Padma Paschimottanasana (half lotus back stretching pose)

“Ardha” is a Sanskrit word which means half, and “padma” signify stands for lotus, “paschim” stands for west or back side of your body, while “asana” stands for yogic pose. Thus the name half lotus back stretching pose. This is therapeutic asana to cure digestive disorders. This half lotus pose is best to attain physical & mental well-being of the practitioners.

Precautions:

If you are suffering from asthma, diarrhea, slipped disc and abdominal proble, avoid this asana. Consult your physician first, before start the asana practice.

How to start:

  • Sit on floor with both legs spread as per your capacity
  • While bending left leg place it foot on right thigh
  • Slightly bend forward & turn left arm behind back
  • With left hand, hold toes of left foot
  • Change the position to initial one with relaxation
  • Repeat the same with right foot & right arm
  • Hold the final position without any jerk or movement
  • This is one round. Go for few rounds

Precautions:

Avoid this asana if you suffer from slipped disc, sciatica and hernia

Benefits

  • Helps to eliminate constipation
  • Improve the muscles of spine
  • Improve flexibility of hip joints
  • Tones abdominal & pelvic region
  • Helps to reduce excess weight
  • Improve flexibility in leg muscles

Padahastasana (hand to foot pose)

“Pada” is a Sanskrit word which means foot, and “hastha” signify stands for hand, while “asana” stands for yoga. This is asana for constipation. It is the third asana of surya namaskara (sun salutation), and integral part of hatha yoga teacher training course. Inhale slowly in the initial position while sitting on floor, and exhale while bending in forward direction.

How to start:

  • Stand on floor with upright neck & feet together
  • Bend forward & place fingers underneath the toes
  • Hold final position for few seconds
  • Slowly return to the initial position

Precautions:

Avoid this asana if suffer from high BP, heart problem, back pain & sciatica.

Benefits

  • Improve bowel movement
  • Stimulate the spinal nerves
  • Eases your throat problem
  • Helps in reducing weight
  • Improve body metabolism
  • Tones the digestive organs
Written by : Yogi Simant

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