In this video, I’ll be demonstrating two key tips to help you work on forward bending in Ashtanga Yoga. These tips will help you increase hamstring flexibility while keeping your lower back safe.
When it comes to safe and effective forward folds, I think there are two key things to keep in mind:
- Strong Legs
- Strong Bandhas
A note on Bandhas:
Bandhas are the locks we do in Ashtanga; squeezing the anus and lifting the pelvic floor (mula bandha), and pulling in on the lower belly (uddiyana bandha).
When we engage the legs and activate the bandhas during forward folds, we set ourselves up to perform these asanas safely and correctly.
Here are some simple steps to safe forward folds:
Engage your legs by pushing down through the heels and the backs of the legs. This engages the quadriceps, the glutes, and lifts you a little bit onto the front of the sits bones.
This will put you in the perfect position to begin forward folding.
TIP: you want your WHOLE torso to come forward. This helps to prevent the rounding of the back which may contribute to low back discomfort during forward folding.
Engage the bandhas – draw in on the lower belly, lift up through the pelvic floor, and try to hold these contractions. When you do this, the bandhas act like a girdle keeping your lower back stable and supported.
TIP: If you have been rounding your back, you’re going to notice that you may not be able to go very far forward. That’s ok! Go as far as you can forward without rounding your back, then breathe and wait for change to come. It might take a while— be patient, do the work, and good results are guaranteed.
Alright, I hope you found this helpful and enjoyable!
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