Its biomechanical basis and the benefits of utilizing this important muscle in your forward bends.
The tensor fascia lata originates from the front part of the iliac crest and outer surface of the anterior superior iliac spine. It inserts onto the iliotibial tract, which continues on to the front outside of the tibia (lower leg bone). It is considered a polyarticular muscle because it crosses both the hip and knee joint. Thus, contracting the can influence both the hips and the knees, as we illustrate below.
It is a seated forward bend, and can help a person go within, in a way that restores the body and mind. It is not important how deep physically you go into the pose but rather how much you can surrender in the pose. The pose is a release to gravity, and a release of yourself to yourself.
Technique: Start the pose, the Staff Pose. the pose where one sits with an extended spine with the torso perpendicular to the floor and the legs together extended straight in front.
the pelvis should be perpendicular to the floor with the side hip bones aligned over your sit bones. If your leg stretch is not yet adequate to sit with a perpendicular pelvis then use blocks or another prop such as one or more folded blankets to provide enough height to sit with the side hip bones far enough forward so that they align with the sit bones and the pelvis is perpendicular to the floor.
Sit with the back pelvic rim moving forward enough to have a “normal” concave lower spine. A few people with a very mobile lower back can move their back pelvic rim so far forward that they over-arch their lower back. Those people should be careful to avoid this over-arching.
Reach back with each hand and move your buttock flesh backwards and out to the sides. This adjusts the angle of your pelvis. Place your palms on the floor next to the hips with your fingers facing toward the feet. Press down through your hands and give your spine more length. With an erect spine, lift up through the top of your head. Open your chest and widen your shoulders. Lift the sternum and bring it forward. Keep your abdomen relaxed and open. Get as much length as you can between the pelvis and ribs by extending the spine upwards.
Now you are ready to move into forward bend.
The stretch in occurs primarily in the legs. Throughout the pose the spine stays extended. Do not round the spine to bring the head to the legs. Rather, move the sternum forward in the pose as the top of the head stretches towards the top feet. The extended torso eventually descends until it is in contact with the actively extended legs. It is sometimes said that once one has enough leg stretch they can move to a full forward bend while keeping a slight backward arch in the spine.
Take a deep inhalation and on the exhalation extend forward moving from the hip joints. The front hip bones descend towards the upper thighs. Don’t bend over from the waist. Reach for the outside of the feet and grasp them. Pull yourself forward while lowering the front hip bones towards your legs.
If you cannot yet reach your feet with your hands, loop a belt around the souls of the feet and hold onto the belt as close to your feet as possible.
For some there will be a tendency to collapse the inner ankles while over stretching the outer ankles. Avoid this by keeping the soles of the feet parallel. If you bring the inside of the foot forward, extending from the balls of the big toes and the inner heels it will help create the proper movement deep in the leg sockets.
As you extend the spine over the legs and descend the torso keep your lower back concave. Do not cheat on yourself and bring your head to your legs by rounding and compressing the lower back. When you are deep in the pose, it will round slightly.
As you work correctly in the pose you get the feeling of your pelvis rotating forward instead of bending over your lower back. Remember to extend through both feet keeping the inner feet extended evenly with your outer feet. Press your thighs down to the floor.
Stay in the pose anywhere from one to three minutes. For optimal benefit you should work over time to extend your stay in the pose. Eventually you be able to hold ten minutes. At the completion of holding the pose, rise up from your hip joints with a straight spine. Push yourself up from the floor with your hands if you like.
The classical pose is done with your legs together. An alternative, if your hamstrings are tight, is to keep your legs about hip width apart for a while.
The classical pose is done with your legs together. An alternative, if your hamstrings are tight, is to keep your legs about hip width apart for a while.
Another option is to use a bolster resting on your legs under your torso. Do the pose for longer than you otherwise would in this supported fashion. It is a great posture to restore your energy when fatigued. The pose is good during menstruation and pregnancy. If pregnant, place the bolster under your chest not your belly and also widen your legs a bit as to make room for your expanding belly.
Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings, back, shoulders and spine.
Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings
Beneficial for the kidneys, liver, ovaries and uterus.
Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort
Good for pregnancy (see Beginner’s Tips above)
Beneficial for diabetics
Relieves headaches and anxiety, and makes one more energetic when tired
Therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, and sinusitis
Contraindications and Cautions: Don't do this if you have back problems, asthma or diarrhea.
If you have a back injury or current problems, do the pose with guidance of an experienced yoga teacher.
Keep your lumbar disks safe by being careful not to bend forward with a rounded low back. Be sure to keep your low back concave (but not deeper than is normal for a healthy standing spine) and your sternum lifting upward while your spine is extended as fully as possible.
For many of us , or a seated forward-bend, is one of the hardest our yoga practice. When we face ‘difficult’ our yoga practice we experience the same feeling we have when facing hard situations in life. We just want to get out of there as soon as possible. And, if we can avoid it forever, better. However, running away from it is not the best way to solve the problem. But facing it. So, let’s see why this happens.
One of the reasons why this so hard is because usually the hamstrings (the muscles on the back of your thighs that connect the hip joint and the knee) are stiff. Usually due to the style of life, spending many hours seated (at the school, at the office, sofa, et, without being used. And, the problem is that, if we don’t do anything to change this situation, it can get worse. To work on it, start slow. Remember that, especially, in the morning the whole body is stiffer. So, go easy.
Start always to practice head-to-knee pose. And remember, when you find things difficult (on and off the mat) BREATHE.
Sit comfortabely on the floor with spine straight. Bend the left knee, bringing the sole of the left foot to the right inner tigh.
Take a deep inhalation, lifting the arms above the head, exhale an fold forward from the top of your hips (not from your waist!).
Rest the hand on your legs or feet. Stay there for a few breathes and then return repeating the asana with the opposite leg.
After this, practice your (seated forward-bend) with feet together or hip distance apart. After you fold forward stay there and practice the breathing (this will help you to release tension in the body and get you need to hold.
For easy, use a block under your hips. Hook a strap around the feet. Walk your hands forward on the mat as you fold.
Before you bend, take your hands to your buttocks and pull them back. While you bend open the chest and ‘offer the heart’. Don’t worry if you moved just a little, the important thing is that you are feeling your hamstrings stretching. That’s the job. With time and practice it will get better and easier.
Remember, the secret is: daily. Practice it every day. I also true believe that a vegetable-based diet can improve our flexibility. Why not to try food as a help?
I love to hear your comments. Let me know if this helped.
Standing Forward Bend Tips, Benefits
Tight back, shoulders and neck from sitting at a desk all day, moving boxes, or everyday stress? Here's how you can relax into a forward bend to start releasing all that tension and lining things up right.
How-to: Stand with your feet parallel, hip width apart. Fold forward over your legs, allowing your back, arms, and neck to release toward the ground.
Tips: Don't worry about how close to your thighs or ground you get, and avoid using your muscles to pull you down here. Just breathe a lot, notice where you have tension in your back, legs, and neck, and see if you can release a bit with each exhale. A slight bend in the knees allows a shift in focus from releasing the backs of your legs to your back muscles.
Benefits: Releases the muscles around the spine and neck, release the backs of legs.
Sit up with the legs stretched out straight in front of you, keeping the spine erect and toes flexed toward you.
Breathing in, raise both arms above your head and stretch up.
Breathing out, bend forward from the hip joints, chin moving toward the toes. Keep the spine erect focusing on moving forwards towards the toes, rather than down towards the knees.
Place your hands on your legs, wherever they reach, without forcing. If you can, take hold of your toes and pull on them to help you go forward.
Breathing in, lift your head slightly and lengthen your spine.
Breathing out, gently move the navel towards the knees.
Repeat this movement two or three times.
Drop your head down and breathe deeply for 20-60 seconds.
Stretch the arms out in front of you.
Stretch the arms out in front of you.
Breathing in, with the strength of your arms, come back up to the sitting position.
Breathe out and lower the arms.
Forward Bend Pose
The front side of the body is called the east side, while the back side is called the west side. In this asana the complete west side is stretched from the heels to the head and is therefore called. This pose helps to open the hips, stretch the hamstrings, calm the mind and allow one to look within.
Taking the position:
forward bend step 1 forward bend step
Forward bend step
While exhaling grab hold of the big toes of each feet with the corresponding hands.
forward bend step.
Exhale out completely and fold forward keeping the back straight, try to rest the forehead on the knees. Continue to maintain, breathing normally.
After bending forward keep the heels, calves and thighs touching the floor. The spine should be straight and the forehead should rest on the knees. The breath should be smooth and if possible the elbows should rest on the floor. As the abdomen is completely folded the bend should be completed after exhaling fully. One should bend only to ones comfort and then stabilise at that point. The knees should not be bent towards the forehead. As the body relaxes the head, shoulders and chest will automatically and naturally come down. Do not strain or pull on the feet to get the forehead closer to the knees. The breath will allow the body to relax more.
Releasing the asana position:
Exhale and while inhaling raise the head.
Release the hands and return to sitting position.
Back, hips, hamstrings, adbomen
Lengthening and relaxing the spine as well as relaxing the hips and hamstrings
Hold the toes with the hands, keeping the legs straight.
Bend forward in the waist.
Try to touch the forehead to the knees and elbows to the ground but focus on lengthening the spine.
Bend the knees.
Arch the spine whilst trying to bring the forehead to the knees.
Pull on the feet Benefits:
It stretches the muscles of the back side of the body from head to the ankles. It contracts the muscles of the anterior part of the body.
This creates pressure on the thorax and abdomen, improving the process of respiration and the functions of the intra abdominal glands, especially the secretions.
Improves the flexibility of the lumbar region, the hips and thigh (back side of thighs and calves).
Massages and tones the abdominal and pelvis region including all organs such as the liver, pancreas, kidneys, adrenals, spleen and intestines.
Improves the blood circulation in the back region and tones the spinal nerves.
Improves alignment of the vertebral column.
Removes the fat from the hips, the abdomen and thigh region.
Helps to remove disorders of the uro-genital system.
Soothing for the mind, removing anxiety, anger and irritability
Encourages surrender, letting go and acceptance
Benefits for Women
Useful for balancing the menstrual cycle and improving blood circulation and prana to the pelvic region
Calms the emotions
Helps to remove pelvic congestion
Relieves period pain
Precautions and Contra-indications:
People who suffer from slipped disc or sciatica should not practice this asana or those who have had recent abdominal surgery.
Duration: This asana can be held for up to 30 seconds to start with and over time this can be increased to 3 – 5 minutes.
Additional section -
Variations and tips:
If there is a lot of tightness in the hamstrings and gluteus maximus there will be some restriction in hip flexion. This causes the hip flexors and abdominal muscles to contract to lower the body to the knees causing congestion. Instead a blanket can be placed under the buttocks.
Also make sure that you are sitting completely straight before moving into the position. You may need to move the buttocks back a little so that you are sitting on your bones.
When coming into the position it can be easier to raise the arms first to lengthen the spine before folding the body, remembering to bend from the base of the spine.
If you cannot hold your toes then hold the ankles, shins or knees. Practicing the forward standing bend can be very useful and easier to help open the body up.
Do remember that it is with relaxation that you will progress more in this position. A few deep breaths will be very useful to practice at the beginning.
Standing Forward Bend
Grinding the mill movement 5 times each direction. From sitting spread the legs apart, straighten the arms in front and clasp the hands. Slowly rotate as if grinding a mill. Repeat in the other direction.
From sitting spread the legs apart, bend forward and touch the right foot with the left hand looking over the right shoulder, repeat 5 times on each side.
Yogamudra Type 1 first to the left side, then the front and then the right side. Swap the legs over and repeat.
Sit up from supine with the arms over the head. Contract the abdomen and come, repeat 5 times.
Exhale and bend forward from the hip joints, not from the waist. As you descend draw the front torso out of the groins and open the space between the pubis and top sternum. As in all the forward bends, the emphasis is on lengthening the front torso as you move more fully into the position.
If possible, with your knees straight, bring your palms or finger tips to the floor slightly in front of or beside your feet, or bring your palms to the backs of your ankles. If this isn't possible, cross your forearms and hold your elbows. Press the heels firmly into the floor and lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling. Turn the top thighs slightly inward.
With each inhalation in the pose, lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly; with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. In this way the torso oscillates almost imperceptibly with the breath. Let your head hang from the root of the neck, which is deep in the upper back, between the shoulder blades.
can be used as a resting position between the standing poses. Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. It can also be practiced as a pose in itself.
Don't roll the spine to come up. Instead bring your hands back onto your hips and reaffirm the length of the front torso. Then press your tailbone down and into the pelvis and come up on an inhalation with a long front torso.
Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
Stimulates the liver and kidneys
Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips
Strengthens the thighs and knees
Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
Reduces fatigue and anxiety
Relieves headache and insomnia
Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, infertility, osteoporosis, and sinusitis
To increase the stretch in the backs of your legs, bend your knees slightly. Imagine that the sacrum is sinking deeper into the back of your pelvis and bring the tailbone closer to the pubis. Then against this resistance, push the top thighs back and the heels down and straighten the knees again. Be careful not to straighten the knees by locking them back (you can press your hands against the back of each knee to provide some resistance); instead let them straighten as the two ends of each leg move farther apart.
After bending forward, slide the index and middle finger of each hand in between the big toe and second toe of each foot. Then curl the fingers under the bottom and around the big toe and wrap your thumb around your fingers. With an inhalation straighten your arms and lift your front torso away from your thighs, making your back as concave as possible. Hold for a few breaths, then exhale and lengthen down and forward, bending your elbows out to the sides.
Modifications and Props
To increase the stretch on the backs of the legs, stand in the forward bend with the balls of your feet elevated an inch or more off the floor on a sand bag or thick book.
A partner can help you encourage the backs of your legs to open. Perform, resting your buttocks against a wall with your heels 6 to 12 inches away from the wall. Bend your knees. Have your partner press firmly against your sacrum. Imagine that the sacrum is sinking into your pelvis and lengthening through the tailbone, which in turn is growing up the wall. Slowly straighten your knees against this resistance. Don't simply lock the knees back to straighten them; instead, resist the back knees slightly forward as the heads of the thigh bones and heels move apart.
Standing poses, inversions, or seated forward bends.
Deepen The Pose
To increase the stretch in the backs of your legs, lean slightly forward and lift up onto the balls of your feet, pulling your heels a half-inch or so away from the floor. Draw your inner groins deep into the pelvis, and then, from the height of the groins, lengthen your heels back onto the floor.
Most people have to reach for the floor at least a few times every day. From groceries or children to golf balls, bending might be so uncomfortable that you would rather avoid it. But bending low enough to touch the floor is something you should be able to easily do your whole life.
Improving the way you bend can have many benefits, including:
Greater ease and comfort every time you bend.
Bending properly can make you stronger. Every time you bend or pick something up from the floor, you are doing a little exercise that can add up over time. Proper bending strengthens you appropriately. Improper bending is uncomfortable and can cause injury.
Proper bending gives you a functionally stronger movement so that you feel more stable and can pick up heavier things.
Bending low enough to touch the floor is a fundamental type of movement. If you improve the way you bend you will automatically improve many other similar movements.
Here are three tips that can help you improve the way you bend. They may be difficult to use at first, but you can improve with practice. Watch the video to see a demonstration.
Three Tips for Bending
Send your knees directly over your feet.
Bend forward at the hips and see the floor.
Keep your spine and legs straight.
Place your hands besides your body with your palms resting on the ground.
Spread your legs wide apart from each other. (It should be approximately at a 90 degree angle with your pubis at the top)
Press your palms firmly against the floor.
Move your buttocks forward and at the same time try to widen your legs more.
Lift up your hands and place them on your legs in such a way that your palms are placed on the thighs.
Now bend your body in the forward direction and try to slide your hands forwards towards your feet.
As you bend forwards from your waist, try to touch your toes with your hands.
Bend forwards until your chest touches the floor.
Keep your head straight. Look in the front direction. Stretch your legs and your arms as much as you can.
Inhale and exhale deeply and completely.
Remain steady in this position for about 30 seconds and then release from the pose and sit back in Dandasana position.
Repeat this activity 10 times every day.
Recent knee injury or wrist surgery
Arm injury or sever pain
Shoulder surgery or severe pain
Stiff hips or thighs
Heart problems or breathing problems
Do not stretch beyond your capacity. If you face any medical issues while practicing this asana, it would be advisable to consult your physician or a qualified yoga guru.
Listed below are the benefits that this yoga:-
It gives a good stretch and massage to your spine, arms, shoulders, thighs, calf muscles, and ankles.
It stretches your stomach organs and tones your abdominal muscles.
It improves blood circulation in your heart and head.
It enhances your digestive system.
It works wonders for those who practice weight loss. It helps in reducing belly fat.
It strengthens your spine and keeps you away from back pain problems.
It helps in calming the brain and relieves mild stress.
Do try practicing home and check out the difference! Don’t forget to leave us a comment. Happy practicing!
Exercises that use your body weight to strengthen your legs, arms and stomach are extremely effective. Exercises like push ups, pull ups, squats and lunges can be used as both cardiovascular and strength training if you do several sets at once. Learning how to do lunges correctly can help get your quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks and hips into shape.
Put on some athletic shoes. Cross-trainers can provide support and comfort during lunge exercises.
Do not do lunges on an exercise mat. These exercises are best done on a hard, even surface.
Set yourself up parallel to a mirror. The mirror will help you to align your body properly, so that you do not get injured.
Stand up straight, with your legs hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips. Flex your abdominal muscles inward and upward.
Take a moment to relax your chin downward, stand up straighter and relax your shoulders down as far as they will go. It is essential that you keep good spinal posture throughout the duration of the lunge.
Step forward with your right foot approximately 2 or 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9m). The taller you are, the further you will need to step forward. Keep your back straight as your body moves forward.
5Lift your left foot up slightly, so that the toe is in contact with the floor, but your heel is not.
Bend both of your knees at the same time. The aim is to make both of your knees stop at a 90 degree angle. Make sure your right knee does not go over your toe line.
Check whether you are doing this by looking in the mirror. At this point, you may need to correct your form, especially if you are trying a lunge for the first time. You may find that your right foot stepped too far forward or did not step far enough forward. Adjust and try again, if necessary.
Pause in this position for 1 to 5 seconds. Stopping your forward momentum will help you to put more effort into rising from the lunge.
Push off of your right heel to rise. Return your right leg to its starting position.
Repeat with the left leg. Check your form in the mirror again and correct if needed. Repeat 10 times on each side, or do 2 to 3 sets.
To get the full benefit of the cardio and strength training, you will need to lunge until your thigh muscles become fatigued and your heart rate is up. Stop doing the exercise if you are no longer able to hold proper form.
Increase the difficulty of the lunges by using hand weights. Start by holding 2 lb. (0.9kg) hand weights in each hand. Hang your arms at your sides. Do your lunge sets while holding the weights. Increase the amount of weight you hold as you get stronger.
Find an area that has a long stretch of straight, flat ground. A place like a track or a city block will work well.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lunge forward, following the instructions above, with your right foot.
Pause at the bottom.
Push off with your left foot. Propel yourself forward as you lift your left leg into a lunge. Lift yourself to standing with your feet hip-width apart.
Pause and lunge forward onto your left foot. Repeat the walking motion for 1 lap or the length of a bloc. Rest for a few minutes and repeat.
Add difficulty by holding hand weights during your walking lunges.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Face a mirror when you do side lunges for the first time.
Allow your feet to turn out slightly, with your heels closer than your toes. Do not try to achieve a large turnout, as it can injure your knees.
Keep your back straight and your stomach flexed for the entire duration of the exercise. Rest your hands on your hips.
Step out 1 to 2 feet (0.3 to 0.6m) to the right. Your left foot should stay in the same position, while your left leg straightens.
Because your toes are slightly turned out, your knee should also have a slight turnout. It should follow the line of your second toe.
Pause at the bottom of the lunge. Check your form in the mirror and make corrections as needed.
Test your form by trying to lift the toes on your right foot. Your body weight should be in your heel so you don't go forward too far.
Push off of your right heel and return to the original position.
Repeat on the left hand side. Repeat 10 times on each side. You can do 1 side 10 times or alternate legs.