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Asana Category: Forward Bends

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Lesson Overview

In this lesson, we examine forward bending poses as a category, and ways to apply this knowledge in teaching.

Objective

Become proficient in the nature and effects of forward bending poses, and considerations for wisely teaching and sequencing them.

Description

Define forward bending and describe types of forward bends, their effects and examples for each. List contraindications and describe general physical effects and energetic effects of forward bends. Explain the terms “anterior tilt” and “posterior tilt” of the pelvis and what is advisable in forward bending alignment. Provide examples of ways to direct students that will encourage a balance of effort and ease in forward bending and explain how you can individualize teaching of forward bending. Name some forward bending poses that are safest for tight hamstrings and/or back issues, and explain how moving into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) with a “swan dive” may be risky for flexible practitioners. Describe how you might sequence forward bends and provide a list of forward bending poses.

Questions Answered Here

  1. What is forward bending and what is a common effect of all types of forward bends?
  2. What is the anatomical term for forward bending?
  3. Describe four types of forward bends, including their effects and examples for each.
  4. For what conditions are forward bends contraindicated?
  5. What are the general physical effects of forward bends? Energetic effects?
  6. What is meant by the terms “anterior tilt” and “posterior tilt” of the pelvis?
  7. Describe generally advised forward bending alignment in terms of anterior and posterior tilt of the pelvis.
  8. Give two examples of ways to direct students that will encourage a balance of effort and ease in forward bending.
  9. How can you use Dandasana (Staff Pose) to learn about an individual student and advise them in forward bending?
  10. Name some forward bending poses that are safest for tight hamstrings and/or back issues such as disk injuries.
  11. How can moving into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) with a “swan dive” be risky for flexible practitioners?
  12. How can you sequence to prepare for deep forward bends?
  13. What counterposes are recommended after forward bending?
  14. The Viniyoga tradition calls forward bends the “hub of the wheel” in sequencing. What is meant by this?
  15. Name up to 70 (!) forward bending poses.

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