If you think about it, most of our daily movements are spent in forward motion. We don’t spend time defying gravity by moving side to side, upside-down, or backward, it just feels natural to bend forward. It’s also the obvious thing to do when picking something off the floor. But backbends offer a new way to move our spine. They create a balance between our everyday movement while breaking-up the rigidity and poor alignment of our spine.
Backbends also alleviate chronic back pain which is an epidemic in our society today. Because backbends stretch the heart they relieve tensions stored in the muscles and help send off natural pain-killers throughout the body and particularly in the areas surrounding the spine. They are also know for treating depression and boosting the immune system.
Try holding each pose for 15sec or more. You can stretch too much so stay connected to your body and don’t push so hard that you lose control of your body. You’ll make advancements and get deeper into these poses each time you practice so be patient and remember to breathe.
-Ly on 2, Yoga Blocks to open through chest
*option: use barbell to ground upper body with straight arms overhead
Roll shoulders down and into mat as you raise your hips. Keep feet hip width apart and palms pressed into the mat or interlaced below your spine.
Open through your upper body & strengthen the low body with this pose. Bring your hands on either side of your ears and keep elbows tracking over your wrists as you lift into wheel and push your upper body forward. To lift higher, squeeze & shorten through the front of your hips and extend through your low back. Work to straighten arms by stacking elbows over wrists, shoulders over elbows. Feel your shoulder blades slide down your back and keep space between your shoulders & ears. The low body provides the power in this pose so keep your butt tight and push the floor away.
Knees & feet hip distance apart, place hands on low back while squeezing elbows together. Drop he’d back and slowly fall back until you can reach the back of your feet. Place palms on feet and drive your hips forward, keeping flutes tight and feeling the extreme opening through your chest. Walk your hands up your back, head and neck are last as you lift up one vertebrae at a time to come out of this pose.
Advanced click on pics to get instructions on how to do these poses
Note: If you are going through a sequence of backbends, forward bends and other counter postures should be added between. Hold them for double the time as the backbends.