Have you ever estimated or even thought about how many times you bend forward in one day? The moment your feet hit the floor at the start of your day begins an endless succession of bending just to move through life. We do it so much in fact that we are hardly aware of doing it at all. Most of us even know someone who has “thrown their back out” while bending over.
Even if we are accustomed to forward bends through yoga or other forms of exercise, once our attention is divided it’s easy to quickly become unaware of just how we are bending. This makes us vulnerable to injury. What if we were to develop an awareness of when and how we are bending to help us to naturally stretch and strengthen our bodies? Then the multitude of mundane tasks we perform daily could actually become welcome opportunities for toning and relieving tension. The way to take these everyday tasks from burdensome to benevolent is by performing these tasks with awareness and intent, this can supply you with some of the most important stretching and strengthening exercises you need to remain healthy, strong and attractive. This is a fundamental way of staying well.
The next time you need to bend over to pick something up, slow down. Notice your belly, are you holding it in? If you are, let it soften, relax your belly. That’s right, relax your belly. Let that relaxation seep down into your groins and pelvic region, if you need a mental image here think about where your underwear touch the top of your thighs, that’s part of your pelvic region and groin. Right there, relax. Begin to let your pubic bone release through your legs. You want to let the relaxation in your belly transfer to a deep relaxation in your hip joints so that the pelvis may rotate freely over the tops of your thigh bones. When you begin to notice pulling sensations (stretching) on the backs of your thighs, soften your knees forward. Let the weight stay towards the back of your feet in your heels. To put this simply, whatever you are bending towards, your rump moves away from it.
Developing a deep awareness takes time and repetition, intention and attention. By bending in your hips, knees and ankles you protect your spine from injury. This is a simple thing you can do daily to preserve your health. Begin developing awareness in your everyday tasks of how many opportunities you have to bend forward. You may want to keep it simple for awhile and just choose one thing you do daily that is a forward bend and follow these guidelines to the letter. As you begin feeling the stretching in your thighs and rump you may be pleased to try more! Remember these things, slow down, relax your belly, release your pubic bone through your thighs. And please come to class soon so you can be checked and rest assured that you are bending your way to better health!