Just Fold It

Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, teaches the art of folding, for folding well keeps your belongings safely, cleanly, and beautifully stored. You and I fold things every single day. We fold laundry, linens, and yoga blankets, and we probably do most of this folding intuitively. Well, the body folds too, and the benefits are vast.

From a standing and seated position, we can fold forward. From a supine position, we can fold over. From a side-lying position we can do a fetal fold. What do all of these position have in common? The front body closes and the back body expands. 

Forward folding effects us physically. The act of “closing” the front body creates space in the back body. This results in a stretch for hamstrings and back muscles, releasing tension or tightness in these areas as well. Forward folding is cooling to the body, and is known to lower the heart hate and slow down the breath.

Forward folding also effects us mentally. It directs our focus inward, towards ourselves. This can calm us down. It can bring us into the present moment. It can help us unite the mind and body. 

Every single day I use forward folding as medicine. Sometimes its in my pajamas before bed. Sometimes it’s after I get out of a car after a long drive. Sometimes it’s while I’m in my kitchen waiting for water to boil. A lot of the time, it’s at the yoga studio, before during and after class. I, of course, do it for the physical effects, but most of the time (and quite intuitively) I’m drawn to the forward fold for the mental effects – to calm down, return to the present, and get my body and mind in the same place. 

You don’t need much time. You don’t need to hightail it to the gym. You don’t even have to put on specific clothing. Everywhere and anywhere, be sure to tap into the life-changing magic of forward folding.