Backward bending…OMG…this can be scary!!
We are a forward-bending society…all day we sit, slouched in cars, chairs, couches, slumped over cell phones and computers. If we are not sitting, we are usually standing with shoulders slumped forward and bad posture.
Backward bends feel unnatural to us, not because our bodies were not made to do them, but because we spend our whole lives in unconscious forward compression.
Hunched shoulders and hunched backs are only “natural” to the aging process if you do not consciously work your spine in the opposite direction!
The reason we feel uncomfortable, nauseated, emotional, distressed or scared in a backward bend is because we have not only activated the nervous system by stretching it deeply, but we’ve exposed the abdomen, chest, and throat. It brings fear and discomfort…we want to protect our bodies, not open and expose!
It’s ok, though, you’re safe here! And when you do it correctly, over time, this pose will feel ahhhh…mazing!!
Here’s how to do Backward Bending correctly:
- Ground feet into the floor, engage your inner thigh muscles, lock your knees, contract your buttocks together.
- Keep your weight in your heels, eyes open and mouth closed.
- Open your chest and lift up with stomach in to support your sacrum.
- Don’t crunch into your lower spine.
- Bring your arms back and hips forward.
- Inhale chest up, exhale hips forward and arms back and inch more.
- Go slowly. Depth will happen naturally over time the more you practice.
Backward Bending Benefits:
- Stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and prepares the body for all the other backbends.
- Helps counteract damage of bad posture.
- Relieves back pain, bronchial distress, scoliotic deformities, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder.
- Realigns the spine.
- Promotes proper kidney function.
- Helps with digestive function, eliminating constipation and flatulence.
- Opens the lower back and helps to break through insecurity and fear.
- Relieves stress and tedium.
- Helps to build confidence and self-esteem.
- Tones and strengthens hips, glutes and leg muscles.
- Tones and strengthens arm and shoulder muscles.
Check out the video linked above to see it in action! If you have any questions on any of the postures, please ask one of our teachers. See you in the hot room soon!!