Forward folds create feelings of calmness and coolness. They increase concentration, making them a great vehicle for pratyahara (the Yogic principle of withdrawal of the senses). The heartbeat is slowed and the blood flows from the trunk to the head. They soothe the brain cells. They remove depression and calm people who get overly excited. They help cool down after a heated sequence. Some of the poses help prepare practitioners to do Sirsasana/Corpse Pose.
Abdominal muscles, stomach muscles, liver, spleen, and kidneys are worked and toned. Liver and spleen are activated. Digestive juices increase, improving digestion. Forward folds relieve gastric problems and bloating in the abdomen. They cure stomach pain and reduce menstrual pain. They heal the spine and spinal nerves. Slipped discs are helped in some positions. Some of the poses help relieve enlarged prostate glands. Some of the poses help heal people suffering from chronic low fever. These things help make abdominal organs healthy leading to longevity, happiness, and peace of mind.
Examples of forward folds include:
- Uttanasana/Standing Forward Fold
- Paschimottansana/Seated Forward Fold
- Prasarita Padottanasana/Wide Legged Standing Forward Fold
- Upavistaha Konasana/Seated Wide Angle Forward Fold
- Baddha Konasana/Cobbler or Bound Angle Pose
Standing or seated tall close your eyes and take a moment to do an inventory of how you are feeling right now – mentally, physically, emotionally. Then place yourself in one of the forward folds. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Stay there for 3 to 10 minutes. Then slowly blink open your eyes and come back to your original stance. Now notice again how you feel. What differences do you observe? You might want to write your experience in a journal or even post them here.