Feeling a little manic? Try forward fold to calm the mind and go inside.
Standing Forward Bend is a grounding pose that can calm anxiety and, along with the breath, quiet the mind. You’ve got both feet rooted solidly into the floor and your head reaching down toward the earth. I feel like it’s an incredibly grounding posture, and introspective too. I always like the folding-in-on-oneself poses to help me feel calm and protected.
Forward folds are not for you if you have high blood pressure, but for most of us it’s an incredibly helpful posture.
This morning during our Sun Salutation flow, as we came from Uttanasa (forward fold) to Ardha Uttanasa (flat back) our teacher reminded us to lead with the sternum. He said, “Lift your heart.”
He did this every time we went through the vinyasa. Lift your hearts. And my brain called back, “We lift them up to the Lord.” It was an automatic call and response drilled into my brain from years of childhood Sundays at church.
I didn’t grow up in a particularly religious family, and I came to yoga and spirituality only into adulthood. There’s some chatter about whether yoga is a practice, a philosophy or religion. Some worry that you can’t cross the streams.
But as this call and response came back to me, it struck me that it’s all the same. The dressing is different, the ambiance, some of the rules and regulations have their distinctive cultural flavors. But worship is worship. We lift up our hearts.