How to work in folding forward in a safe way?

In many Yoga styles folding forward in both standing and seated is practiced very often, having the right understanding in how to use your body when you fold can help you to support your practice in a long term without injury.

One of the most common injuries these days is tear of the hamstring (body of the muscle) and tear or avulsion of tendon at the origin (semitendinosus, where the muscle meets the tendon). If you ever got this injury you will know that is take long time to heal, because the hamstring is one of the group of muscles we use more often. When we walk the quadriceps is slightly engage while the hamstring will be slightly stretch, that is why heal this type of injure will require lot of awareness and time in order to heal it

Having a closer look of the anatomy of the Hamstring will help us to have a better idea about the most common injured areas. In our body the muscles always support each other in order to create stability and movement, every time when you extend or flex any limb, in one side of the limb will be always a contracted group of muscles (agonist) and in the appositive side will be a stretched group of muscles (antagonist)

Having this in mind, in order to stretch the muscle in a safe way we have to pay attention in engage the opposite group of muscle. In case of the hamstring contracting the quadriceps will help you to stretch the hamstring in a safe an effective way. However, in order to make sure that the stretch is happening at the body of the muscle and not at the tendon, is very important that you apply the following tips in your practice:

  1. Move the hips forward in line with the heels, this action will force you to really engage the quadriceps, activate the toes and reduce the tension at the origin of the muscle
  2. Most of the body weight should be at the ball of the feet
  3. Heels grounded
  4. Engage your core when you move your body weight forward

This action will help you to stretch the hamstring in a safe an effective way.

In case that you already have any of the injured mentioned above a mindful way of practice can help you to speed up the healing process. Here there is some advises we have been sharing with our students:

  1. Fold forward just enough, respect your body condition at the moment, this will help you to create a sense of self support and acceptance
  2. When you fold forward keep the top of the hips pointing upward as much as possible, this will keep the sitting bone pointing downward, reducing the tension on the tendon.
  3. Allow more blood to reach the injured area, this will facilitate the healing process. This can be achieved by lean your legs against the wall, 10 minutes every day (make sure that you use a pillow to support your sacrum). Increase the blow supply will also increase the amount of nutrients and oxygen into the injured area

After applying this our students not only healed faster, they also found more comfort and ease within the practice

Let us know how is works on you

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