The process of forward bending utilizes gravity to stretch the muscle groups being focused upon. It is associated with chest compression and exhalation which induces relaxation.
A sedentary lifestyle with little or no exercise results in the body becoming stiff and unable to bend forward. At another level, it is also associated with bowing and humility. The inability to bend forward may indicate as stiff, proud or stubborn personality. this difficulty is also associated with fear. Forward bending asanas release this rigidity.
Getting into the posture:
1. Sit on the floor with legs outstretched, feet together in the front and hands sideways. Make sure that you are sitting on your seat bonei.e. the perineum by tilting the pelvis slightly forward.
2. Now relax the whole body.
3. Raising your arms up take a deep inhalation.
4. Slowly bend forward with the exhalation. With each exhalation bend further. Try to grasp the big toe with the fingers and thumb. If this is not possible then hold the heel, ankle or any part o the leg that can be reached comfortably.
5. Remember to bend from the waist or hips and not the shoulders or middle of the back. This may cause injury.
6. Hold the position for few seconds. Relax the back and the leg muscles allowing them to stretch gently. Continue inhalation and exhalation.
7. Keeping the legs straight and using the arms muscles, with each exhalation bend the elbows and gently bring the trunk down towards the legs, maintaining a firm grip on the toes, feet or legs.
8. Try to touch the kees with the forehead. Do not strain.
9. Hold the position for as long as is comfortable and relax.
10. Slowly return to the starting point. This is round one.
It stretches the hamstring muscles, increases the flexibility in the hip joints.
It tones and massages the entire abdominal and pelvic region, including the liver, pancreas, spleen, uro-genital system, kidneys and adrenal glands.
During the forward bending each of the vertebra is separated stimulating the nerves, improving the circulation around the spine and nourishing the spinal cord.
People suffering from slip disc, sciatica or hernia should not attempt this asana.