The Function of the forward fold for Today’s Athlete is to lengthen the hamstrings from insertion to attachment, Most of today’s Athletes only feel sensation at the top of the hamstrings below the glutes. Keep the knees bent the heart open and focus on the function of the asana, which is to lengthen the hamstrings. Pressing the elbows into the front of the knees will also help the action of the asana. Today’s athlete can find greater release and ease as the hamstrings lengthen slowly cultivating patience with self as well as acceptance and awareness. Over time the knees will get straighter and the bum will lift higher, but if todays athlete does not have the length in the hamstrings, they drop their head, round the back, drop the tailbone they force the legs to straighten, and the hip flexors to shorten as they flex the back as opposed to extending the back. Back flexion may initially feel good, but can potentially create long term problems pushing disc matter into spinal column.
Each of these photos show poor hamstring function and elongation in ustrasana and are putting undo stress on the low back, shortening the hip flexors, closing up the heart and not even addressing the intention of the asana which is to lengthen the hamstrings. They
seem to focused on getting the head down closer to the toes while rounding the back.
Important to remember, Do NOT EVER ROLL
UP out of a forward fold! All day long we sit with our backs rounded, are knees flexed and our hearts closed. No
need to bring this into our practice. EVER! To come out, bend your knees, engage your core and slowly come up to standing with a flat back. Back safety first!
How might your yoga expression of ustrasana be changed to make it more effective in lengthening the hamstring and safer for your back.
See you, on the mat!