Best known by its yoga name, Paschimottanasana, Seated Forward Bend is a classic yoga pose that gives your whole body a good stretch and helps you release body tension and relax.
For a beginner, it will be the exact opposite because your muscles are stiff and challenging to stretch completely but with time, a clear mind and a satisfying stretch is a guarantee.
Due to muscle strength and tight muscles, it will be a challenge to pull off the pose because muscle flexibility is very low.
Stretching your body muscles helps relieve muscle tension from our daily activities and many workout sessions.
HOW TO DO SEATED FORWARD BEND PROPERLY
All you need is a positive attitude, a yoga mat and you are off to a great start. It will be challenging but being constant with the workout will prove beneficial.
How to do it:
- Sit up on the edge of the yoga mat with your legs stretched out in front of you. Sit with your sitting bone and keep your spine erect.
- Inhale as you raise both arm outwards and above your head. Stretch them up towards the ceiling.
- Exhale as you hinge at the hips and reach forwards. Lengthen your spine and try as much as possible to reach your toes with your hands while your back is straight.
- Drop your head almost touching your knees and deepen the stretch until your back extends fully.
- Hold the position until you feel your thigh muscles and back start to stretch.
- Take deep breaths for 30-60 seconds while in that position.
- Breathe in and slowly roll up starting with your spine then followed by your shoulders and head. Go back to your sitting position and repeat the pose.
- Do 10-12 reps.
- If you are having trouble bending forward, you can start by placing a pillow under your knees to have a slight bend so that your spine can slowly learn to lengthen and extend fully with time.
- Sit up on props and place your hands on your side. Extend your spine as you walk along the outside of each leg with your hands as far as they can reach.
- You can use a strap to help you pull your muscles and stretch better.
- When forward bending, always start with your back then followed by your shoulders and head.
- If you cannot hold the position for long, do as many reps as possible to improve muscle extension.
WHAT MUSCLES DO SEATED FORWARD BEND WORK
The back of the thigh muscles, hamstrings, helps us to sit, stand, bend and so on. Hamstring stretches helps improve the muscles flexibility and range of motion in the hip area.
Daily activities will be easy to perform and you can progress in your yoga poses by doing more challenging stretches with ease.
LOWER BACK MUSCLES
The lower back helps to support and stabilize the upper body and extend the spinal column when bending or working out.
With those functions and more, the lower back is subjected to a lot of movement and load, which with time can lead to back tension and aches.
Stretching and relieving the back helps improve spine support, reduce stress and improve overall mobility.
In this work out the hip flexors, receive a good stretching that helps lengthen them and strengthen the muscles more.
There is increase in mobility, which is great for reducing pain and improving their functions on day-to-day activities.
SEATED FORWARD BEND BENEFITS
IMPROVES BODY FLEXIBILITY
Stretching to the extremes gives you a sense of relief like no other. At first, it may feel painful and impossible but Seated Forward Bend allows you to progress well through the modifications until you are able to fully extend your body and be as flexible as possible.
Having a flexible body gives you lean muscles that are both strong and toned.
IMPROVES BLOOD CIRCULATION
Relieving muscle tension results in improving blood circulation because tension free muscles opens up blood veins in the body and blood circulation is efficient in the entire body.
RELIEVES MUSCLE TENSION
From simple morning stretches, you always feel relieved and good. Advanced yoga poses prove to be more beneficial in releasing muscle tension and stress.
Doing the exercise every morning or evening leaves you feeling light and stress-free.
RELIEVES AND BALANCES MENSTRUAL CYCLES AND CRAMPING
With improved muscle flexibility at the lower back and hips, efficient blood circulation to the pelvic region is improved which helps relieve symptoms caused by menstruation for example cramping. The workout helps to balance menstrual cycle.
ALTERNATIVES TO SEATED FORWARD BEND
WIDE ANGLE SEATED FORWARD BEND
Almost similar to Seated Forward Bend, wide angle seated forward bend workout is done when legs are in a split or in a full split. It helps open up the pelvic area and work on improving the hip flexors and leg muscles.
LOW LUNGE POSE
Low lunge pose is all about completely stretching the thigh muscles and extending the back to the extremes.
It helps to minimize risks of back injuries and offers a great relief to the lower back.
SEATED FORWARD BEND MISTAKES TO AVOID
Rounding your back hurts your form and you will concentrate more on the pain coming from your curved back rather than from your stretched muscles.
Do the pose as safely as possible not to harm your back muscles and spine.
STRAINING YOUR BACK MUSCLES
It is pretty clear you have to have an ounce of flexibility in your muscles to at least pull the pose off. It is easy to strain your back muscles especially if you cannot lengthen or extend your spine fully.
Start easy and safe by using a strap or an assisting pillow below your knees, that way, you will avoid straining your back muscles and risk getting a painful back.
OVER BENDING THE KNEE
Using a pillow below your knees helps your muscles adjust to the position then later on do the pose better and without assistance. Over bending lessens the stretch on the hamstrings and shifts to the joints.
Try as much as possible to have a slight bend even when you have the assistance of a pillow.
Seated Forward Bend is that yoga pose that starts as a pain wrecking stretching exercise to a tension and stress reliever exercise.
Folding yourself like that does not come easy but with consistency, you will start to master the technique and your body will appreciate the benefits.
Yoga in general taps your inner energy and transforms it to body peace. If you are looking for a pose/exercise that gives your muscles flexibility and increase overall body health then this workout is a great start.