This Week: Finding relief from travel stress in forward bends. I find calm and stress relief in forward bends.  You can do them anywhere:  hotel, home, office.  The blood in your head is replenished and with the deep breaths, your body folds slightly more forward allowing an opening to your lower back and hamstrings. 

All the benefits seem to be really good for travel when you are stressed out, compressed from sitting, angry from being late etc.

The benefits are:

  1. soothes and calms the nervous system
  2. gives intense stretch to back side of the body
  3. lengthens the entire back side of the body
  4. improves the circulation of blood throughout the entire body.
  5. increases space and circulation between the vertebrae so the nerves are freed, nourished and healed
  6. front side of the body is firmed and toned, thus stimulating digestion and elimination as the spine and back side are stretched
  7. stimulates the endocrine glandular system which regulates chemical balance
  8. cools the mind and reduces anger and frustration
  9. removes mental distractions and improves the attention span
  10. prepares one for deep relaxation
  11. improves the flow of prana

My materials say it is better to practice standing forward bends first, rather than seated, because although they are more muscular, there is less margin for error.  Standing forward bend that I like is Parsvottanasana which means lateral intense extension pose.  Start in warrior I stance and put hands in namaste position behind your back.  Fold forward bringing nose toward knee.

Seated forward bend that I like is upavistha konasana or seated angle pose.  Legs out in v, no wider than 120 degrees, knees and feet pointed up to ceiling.  Keep tall neutral spine and fold forward walking your hand out in front of you.  Feet are flexed.  

Forward folding is not recommended for those with disc problems and huge forward folding is not recommended for pregnant women (but I find women in my prenatal class are so stiff I can’t even tell they are folding forward!)

Marty Clemons, is a yogi at heart, attorney by trade, mother of 2 freezing her yoga butt off in Chicago.

Read more travel exercise tips.