The benefits of forward folds are similar to that of Legs up the Wall. Stress relief, blood flow, release of hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles, and an improved immune system.
But the most important benefit of forward folds is that your hip joints get the message that they have work to do. Our joints stop spontaneously regenerating when we are about 30-years-old, but if we communicate with them by using them (often!), they get the message that they are not done, we still need them, and they will continue to create cartilage and bone cells.
Here are three types of forward folds you can try. Hold each for 5 to 10 long inhales and exhales.
1. Standing: With your legs hips-width apart or spread wide, hinge at the hip joints and hang your body forward. Keep the back of the neck soft as you melt the torso forward, careful not to round in the upper back. You can bend in the knees if your hamstrings are tight.
2. Seated on the floor: With your legs straight out in front of you in Staff Pose, remove any flesh from the sit bones and then fold the torso forward, inviting a bend in the knee again if your hamstrings are tight. Hands can grab for the feet or shins. together or wide spread.
3. On your back: Wrap a strap or belt around your feet and pull them up into the air then pull them toward your head. This one is particularly beneficial, as it keeps the movement in your hip joints and not your spine.