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Discovering Stress Relief With a Forward Fold

By Sandy Schroeder

If you do yoga or are new to the practice, you may want to look closer at the pose known as Forward Fold. This posture is a stretch that bends the body all the way forward with head and hands reaching down toward the floor.

If you are new to yoga, you may want to observe a class and then talk with the instructor. Yoga is a great way to slow the brain down as you focus on your breath and the Forward Fold is a prime example of how much it can do. The instructor can demonstrate and help you ease your way into it.

MindBodyGreen.com's yoga experts say the Forward Fold pose is so helpful because it is really the "rest and digest" pose.  It works great as a stretch and if you hold it a bit longer it can de-stress you and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Often we resort to aerobics and dieting when we want to shed extra pounds but we really need to focus on the stress hormone that hangs onto belly fat. Doing exercises such as the Forward Fold moves the nervous system into a parasympathetic mode which triggers the brain to release fat.

The forward fold inversion lets your head go below the heart which calms the mind and relieves stress. It can also remedy headaches and improve digestion.

If you are feeling stressed and bloated, the Forward Fold may be the way to go.

How to Do a Forward Fold

Here are the basic steps.

  • Stand up straight with hands on hip or together in front of the chest. Inhale.
  • As you exhale start to move downward from the hips lengthening your chest. You can bend the knees to allow the stomach to come down.
  • Then allow your head to hang down as thighs are turned slightly outward.
  • Move your weight into your heels and tilt your hips upward as you straighten out the legs to stretch the hamstrings.
  • If you can reach the floor with your hands press fingertips into the mat. If that is too much of a stretch, bend your knees and reach to the most comfortable point. Don't strain or try to reach too far.
  • Hold for one minute. As you inhale, lengthen the body lifting it slightly.
  • To come out of the pose, inhale and rise up with a flat back and straight legs. Or you can come up one vertebrae at a time.

As always, check with your doctor before beginning new exercise routines.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Loveland, Colo.

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