In forward bending we flex the spine. Forward-bends incorporate the shape and the mind of a deep bow. We yield into the earth and we yield to ourselves, our inner comfort, our navel. Yielding is a process of the whole-body-mind —a coming into active relationship with self, and the environment. The natural levity and spaciousness of core-awareness provides a balance to the density of our fluid and yielding selves. Starting from neutral spine, we are simply present. The impetus to surrender or move inward begins the movement forward. Using a soft axial extension (elongated spine) we begin to slip our spine forward into it’s original shape of a soft C-curve. Core is moving forward, front body is condensing, and back body is elongating. There is deep comfort in this.
Check out this simple and easy method for approaching paschimottanasana from dandasana.
As always, the key is to find your own just right expression of a forward-bend. Because of the complications in our modern day lower-backs, it is important to learn the basics of forward-bending from a qualified teacher. A qualified teacher can assess the degree of flexion your spine can safely and comfortably allow.
The simple principles of integration apply to all students, as it is the integration of body-mind-spirit that gives the most profound benefit in all yoga asana.