Seated forward bend has a wide range of physical benefits. As well as stretching the hamstrings, the back and the shoulders, it stimulates digestion and can relieve menstrual cramps or symptoms of menopause. It is also considered therapeutic for conditions such as high blood pressure and insomnia.
It is important to work with the breath to go deeper into the seated forward bend. On every inhalation the spine should be lengthened further, and every exhalation should allow for deeper release into the stretch.
Seated forward bend can be modified for those with a tighter lower back or hamstrings by using a belt to wrap around the feet or placing a cushion underneath the knees. Most practitioners also benefit from sitting on a cushion in this pose to lift the sit bones.