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Got a backache? Try Forward Bends

For such a simple posture, the standing forward bend can produce amazing results. It’s one of the first postures I learned years ago when I started taking yoga classes. At the time, I had low back pain that began to disappear as I benefited from the cumulative effects of practice – especially the standing forward bend.

In my yoga tradition, the primary purpose of this posture, and all forward bends, is to stretch the low back.

Here’s the process:

To do it, stand with feet about hip-bone distance apart, arms by your sides, shoulders relaxed. Take an inhale and, as you exhale, begin to bend forward rounding your low back until you are in a comfortable forward bend, chin slightly tucked. To keep things simple, let your hands slide down the sides of your legs as you bend forward. A couple of keys to this posture are (1) contract your abdomen as you exhale and bend forward and (2) bend your knees to feel more of a stretch in the low back/sacrum than hamstrings.

When exhaling into the forward bend take care not to hinge from the hips with straight legs or to “swan dive” into the forward bend. Over time, doing so can place excessive strain onthe hips and back. Always keep soft knees.

To come up from the forward bend, as you inhale, engage your back muscles and return to standing. Keep a slight abdominal contraction as you return to standing to protect your low back. Your hands slide back up the sides of your legs, shoulders relaxed. Keep your back relatively flat and your head neutral with chin slightly tucked. Take care not to hyperextend the neck.

Repeat the movement 6 times. Repeating the movement several times is key because it causes the muscles to contract and release which results in the muscles stretching.

This process is what helped my back.

Be sure to take it easy and if you ever feel pain, stop immediately.


Joanne Thompson

Joanne Thompson

Founder/Owner at Yoga for Self

Health is a precious gift and my goal is to help you live a healthier, happier life through yoga. Every private session is uniquely designed just for you. For a free telephone consultation call me at 303.818.4181. Discover whether personalized, private yoga instruction is right for you.
Joanne Thompson

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