Thai massage forward

Forward bends are calming. In yoga classes I always notice their soothing nature as they allow your spine to roll towards a fetal position. Long term many people take on this rolled forward position and form a slouch, primarily in their upper back that I spend time trying to help clients with. Ideally your spine moves within a full range of motion and your soft tissues support good posture throughout your day.

Backbends are the healers of the spine for many reasons but I’d never trade them in for simple forward bends. This seated forward bend you do in Thai massage is done at the end of a session when your client is seated and you’re feeling open, free, unencumbered.

Creating length on the spine is good for the long term health of the vertebrae and posture. Long term it takes pressure off of the discs, prevents herniation, bulges and the like. In yoga you’re working in standing forward bends in turning the whole spine upside down and tractioning it. Usually this is stopped by intolerably tight hamstrings and one should be conscious to stretch the hamstrings and take pressure off of the low back. This is done by gently bending the knees and allowing the torso to rest on the thighs.

Plow pose

Halasana or plow pose is a common pairing with shoulderstand or salamba sarvangasana. Plow allows a deep flexion of the spine and opening that supports the eventual lift into shoulderstand. One should be cautious, particularly if you’ve not performed this pose previously. Go slow, walk the feet back and take your time. Your breath is more important than the depth of the posture you achieve.

The pose helps the thyroid, parathyroid and the digestive tract due to pulling the belly towards the spine. Additionally you can get a hamstring stretch and the benefits of a partial inversion. Use the mats or blankets as shown in the video. I used to loathe both plow and shoulderstand due to attempting the pose without and feeling strain on my cervical spine or neck.

Plow is an excellent addition to a vibrant energetic practice. It’s calming to the nervous system as is common with forward bends.