The Art of Bending Over

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The Art of Bending Over

As we age, we lose resiliency, and, of course, the stiffer the body, the stiffer the spirit. The forward fold demands flexibility in surprising ways.

The forward fold isn't about flexible hamstrings.  

The very nature of the bend invites introspection and inner quiet.  Unifying the up-body with the low-body, sky with earth, the spiritual with the physical, is a most grounding move. 

You'll have to surrender your ego and embrace modification.  You may never touch your toes, and you'll have to settle for your knees or your thighs.  Your legs my never be straight as you reach for the earth. 

As we age, we lose resiliency, and, of course, the stiffer the body, the stiffer the spirit. The forward fold demands flexibility in surprising ways.  You'll have to face how you're compressed in more than just your body. 


Skip the drama, and start on the floor. Accept that you need to be grounded and supported

Sit on a folded blanket to lift your seat so your pelvis tips forward.  Your legs are long in front of you with a micro-bend in the knee. 

Inhale and lift your torso out of your pelvis, and keep your back straight, your neck in alignment with your spine. Stick your thumbs in your hip creases to help lengthen your torso. Relax your shoulders.

Feel the upper body stretching out of the hips and pelvis, growing longer. 

Endgame isn't hands wrapped around the feet. The arms and where they land are just part of the scenery.  Focus on the fold.  Imagine your belly touching your thighs as your heart reaches toward your toes. Pause where you are, and experience the stretch. Slightly lift your heart on the inhale, and stretch the torso long again as you exhale.  

Be careful not to curl your spine and drop your head. 

Accept wherever you are and hold for twenty deep diaphragmatic breaths


Approach the standing toe touch. Stand with legs parallel. If you like, squeeze a foam block between your thighs.  Keep a micro-bend in your knees .  Your thighs will internally rotate, and you'll feel your sacrum release. Don't tuck your tailbone.  Allow the sway in your lower back to remain natural.  Instead, imagine two handles on either side of your pubic bone, and direct your awareness to lifting your lower belly and pelvic floor. 

Push your thumbs into your hip creases, and as you exhale, hinge forward from the hips, pushing your buttocks back and elongating your spine. Feel your torso spilling out of your low body. Exhale as you lower.

Pause when your back is parallel to the floor. You may choose to hang out here, experiencing the stretch in the hamstrings, your head in alignment with your spine. Continue to squeeze the block, and lengthen the torso, creating more light and space in the pelvis. 


Fold completely, the crown of your head facing the earth, only if you choose.  

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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