Forward bends are asana staples. In yoga practice, we bend forward while standing, sitting and even lying down. Actively lengthening back body muscles—especially the muscles of the hips and hamstrings—helps counteract the effects of sitting in chairs. Forward bending is inherently calming, as long as we approach it with an attitude of ease and curiosity, rather than an attitude of forcefulness.

Keeping muscles of the hips and hamstrings supple can also be healthy for your back. Relaxed muscles in the hips...

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