In part 5 of yoga for beginners we look at various “bends” in our yoga practice. The yoga back bend, forward fold, and our side bends (also known as crescent moon.
These postures really target our torso and are often grouped together in a yoga practice.
Crescent moon also known as side bend is a wonderful way to lengthen and grow along your side body. Most people make the mistake of collapsing into either side of their body… However, the trick is to grow tall and lengthen up and out of your hips first. After this you gently tilt toward either side.
In your crescent moon you should feel the posture all the way from the base of your hip… through your ribs and intercostals, then all the way up to the base your armpit.
Back bends (Anuvittasana) can be tricky – primarily because we have a tendency to just collapse into our lower back. The low back is already a sensitive area for many people so this makes it even harder to do this posture well.
I generally have students simply begin by placing their hands on their hips just above their butt. After this it’s best to bring your eye gaze up and hold here for a moment to breathe. Breath is often the first thing we loose in our back bend.
After you are comfortable with your breathing then it’s best to gently engage your glutes as you come back.
Inhale open your heart… exhale come back a little bit…
Keep with this rhythm for a while until you feel you have reached your max. Then gently come back.
Next forward fold is typically best to do. It is a welcomed counter stretch from your back bend.
In your forward fold (AKA forward bend… standing forward bend… uttanasana) you bend at your hips and just relax forward. Depending you your level of flexibility you may need put a small bend in your knees.
I find it best to relax your head neck and shoulders completely. You’ll hear many teachers say, “we hold our head up all day, so let it relax here.”
After a few breaths in your forward fold your “bends” section of your beginner yoga series is more-or-less over. Simply return to standing and continue on with the remainder of the class.
Thank you so much for coming along your journey with me!
Keep going you’re doing so well!
Next up is where things get a little more exciting in your beginner yoga practice – it’s time for warrior!
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