I’ve never really been a “yoga person” or so I used to think. I’m not sure what I thought a yoga person looked like, I just knew it wasn’t me. Until I was introduced to Yin Yoga* about 10 years ago. It was actually the gateway of changing the negative self talk within. My instructor at that time repeated these phrases throughout every class:
- Let go of those judgments.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Forgive yourself.
- Allow yourself to be where you are at.
*Yin Yoga is a slow-paced form of yoga where you hold poses/stretches for longer periods of time, allowing the body to slow down and be where it is at. I have found the most beautiful thing about Yin is its ability to allow me to sit with myself and at times the discomfort of some poses, without trying to fix anything.
I had never really heard those messages before and I felt my soul crave them over and over again. I stopped going to that studio when I moved and wouldn’t pick Yin back up as a practice for another 6 years. This time, it would be at home, completely self-led.
Something strange began to happen for me. Every time I would be in a forward bend pose, I noticed that I would cry. Like, ugly cry, snot running out of my nose, type of tears. And it would happen often. To the point where now if I am feeling ambivalent about how I am feeling about a situation, I immediately go into a forward bend, specifically the knee-to-toe forward bend and the seated forward bend. Without a doubt, the wisdom will flow through me and so will the tears. I know I am not alone in this either. I have been hearing others speak about the magic of the forward bend so I wanted to explore why this is. And here is what I found (and no, none of this is scientific, however I am just exploring my own intuition and experience).
The 3 Magical Benefits of the Forward Bend:
1. It’s a natural release of stress and tension.
By relaxing the body completely and folding into the stretch, we are able to calm down our nervous system, give ourselves a moment to relax, and slow down by slowing our heart rate down, as well as leaning in and holding this pose.
2. It provides a cocoon around your heart center, leaving it feel protected and safe.
By creating this sacred net around our hearts, we are giving her the container she needs to feel safe and then able to communicate those messages.
3. It creates the space for you to be nearer to your heart, able to listen in on its wisdom.
Sounds strange but it’s true. Did you know our bodies are aways trying to communicate with us? They will do so through reoccurring pain and discomfort. So the more we can learn to give ourselves the space the explore the messages they are communicating, the more in tune we become with our bodies.
And what better way to hear what our hearts think then to get real close and listen in on it? Ahhh the beautiful magic of the forward bend, indeed! Try one today and see if you hear or feel anything.
Cara Ansis is a Self-Love Facilitator and healer, helping women safely enter their own inward journey towards taking better care of themselves. With a master’s degree in Soul Care, she is a certified Spiritual Director and has had the privilege of working with countless women around the country. With her own profound story of self-healing, she now teaches those everyday techniques, rituals, and tools to enable other women connect with their own healing abilities and radically transform their lives. Cara lives in Chicago, IL with her husband, Matt and their son, Jaxon.