Forward bends stretch and strengthen the back portion of the spine, pelvic girdle,
shoulders and legs. They also strengthen the abdominal muscles, which contract as
we bend forward, and gently compress abdominal organs, which stimulates their
Proper Technique in Bending Forward
When folding forward, it’s best to maintain a “flat” back, neither arched nor rounded,
with the neck in line with the rest of the spine. So, as you bend forward you maintain
the normal curvature of the spine. It’s important to press the hips back and hinge from
the hips, instead of rounding the back, when folding forward. If hamstrings are tight, it
is best to bend the knees, so the back can remain flat. Rounding the back due to tight
hamstrings can lead to a backwards rotation of the pelvis and a collapsing of the chest
over the belly. This can result in intervertebral disc compression in the anterior (front)
of the spine.
Low back pain is often a result of poor mechanical relationship between the lumbar
spine and the pelvis. Although many chronic back conditions can occur due to
improper forward bending, forward bending done properly can also help us strengthen
and stabilize our back and body.