Many of us have experienced the immediate results of practicing yoga: less stress and a sense of calm. But what you might not know is that regular practice could yield long-term heath benefits. Research from the National Institute of Health (NIH) suggests that practicing yoga, along with regular exercise, can help relieve back pain, high […]
Terry Schaff, E-RYT, works as a yoga therapist with Loren Fishman, developing therapeutic yoga protocols for people recovering from injuries and living with physical challenges. Terry leads yoga classes for people with Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis, and back pain, and specializes in post-operative rehabilitation and geriatric problems. www.terryrothschaff.com Describe what you do in 15 words or […]
There are many benefits to forward bends, both standing and sitting. They create length and space in the spine, counteracting compression, and their inward nature can promote introspection. Yet forward bands can also be a challenge to many people, especially those with tight hamstrings. Common physical patterns, such as overstretched back muscles and rounded shoulders (mostly likely from sitting in front of a computer for hours) are often exacerbated in forward bending poses.
But as senior Kripalu Yoga teacher Cristie Newhart says in her R&R retreat workshop Forward Bends, yoga can help us dissolve patterns so we can uncover fresh ways of looking and experiencing ourselves. This multifaceted awareness about how we move can help us cultivate a deeper, richer yoga practice, allowing us to discover new ease in our forward bends.
In the workshop, Cristie shares these tips for getting the most out of your forward folds:
The heart beats in a faithful and constant rhythm throughout a lifetime. To keep the heart nourished and happy, heart-opening backbends can work wonders. Backbends create space for energy to move more freely to and from the heart, connecting one to the qualities of love, security, and compassion. Backbends also enhance circulation, nourish the spine, increase lung capacity, and regulate the endocrine system.
Try a simple, seated backbend to help you open your heart this winter. Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your spine tall.