October 19, 2012 -- Forward Bends for Calmness
All poses can be practiced for calmness, not only forward bends. However, forward bends stretch muscles in the back of the neck and in the backs of the legs that are very good at tensing when we feel stress, and which don’t release their tension very well when stress is not present. Forward-bending poses help lengthen these muscles, which then goes a long way toward settling and calming the nervous system.
The class is layered so that if you easily bend forward (i.e. touch your elbows to your feet with legs straight), then you'll be doing the demos. Whether you can barely reach your knees while doing a standing forward bend, or you are well-practiced, then you'll be doing a version of each pose that is a good fit for you.
The main intention of this class is to convey an understanding of how and where and when to exert effort (strength), and how, where and when to let go (surrender). When things don't progress the way I believe they should, I find it useful to consider whether I am putting my effort in a place that doesn't need it, and if there is another place I could be firming up instead.