I have TOTALLY experienced this. Gee, Kristin, this is transformational information, not just for me, but for my students too...! One way I like to soften the descent into a forward fold is to really use the breath: sinking a little deeper on the exhale and allowing the torso to float up out of the forward fold on the inhale. This has really helped... but I do remember that "dull ache!!"
Kristin Leal I have a few students that can't forward fold in Staff Pose. They bend from the thoracic spine and not at all from the lumbar region. I initially thought this was due to limited movement in the pelvis, i.e. they couldn't shift the pelvis forward to allow the space to fold over. Could this be tight hamstrings instead?? Any advice??
Jodie Creaser oof it's so hard to say without seeing the student but it could be hamstrings. You can try opening the legs to see if its more about the range of anterior tilt in the pelvis or see what happens in their standing forward bends to assess. We are such complex critters that many things may be in play here. Whatever pose supports the breath and the students presence with themselves I'm all for so feel free to get creative- whatever works!!