In This Chapter
^ Why bend forward?
^ Forward bends: child's pose, standing head to knees, feet apart side angle, sitting one leg, bound half lotus, yoga mudra, boat, tortoise, and downward facing dog
^ Modifications, challenges, and other tips to improve your yoga practice
Forward bends are important for several reasons. They're wonderful for helping you to focus inward and quiet your mind. As your body bends forward, it folds your heart into its center. Forward bends are also important to balance backbends, so include a few of each in your yoga practice.
Forward bends are great for stretching out and loosening up the lower back muscles and also for lengthening the hamstrings. Believe it or not, the leg muscles often hold more stress than any other muscle group in the body! Forward bends help you reach that inner place where you can allow the lower back and hamstrings to relax and become fluid. Okay ... one, two, three, reach!
The child's pose makes you feel safe and nurtured, as if you were still in the womb. Mudhasana (pronounced moo-DAH-sah-nah) activates your Venus and moon chakras (located behind your heart and at the base of your skull, respectively), relieves lower back pain, and improves your complexion. It also stimulates respiration because it compresses your diaphragm.
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