All forward bends begin with a hinging movement of the hips, not the waist. Hanging or sitting forward takes pressure off the spine. These postures passively stretch back and legs. Gravity and the weight of the body help to release stiffness and release compression between vertebrae.
Standing forward bends such as waterfall and hand-to-foot pose warm the spine and loosen the back in preparation for Sun Salutes. Seated forward bends such as head-to-knee or back stretching pose are usually practiced near the end of the practice before inversions and relaxation poses. Revolving poses combine forward bends and twists, simultaneously stretching and compressing side waist.
On this page, you will find links to articles for teaching and practicing forward bends. Each article includes instructions, a list of benefits, modifications and variations. Although, these are intended for certified instructors of yoga, beginner yogis will also find them useful.