September 11, 2017
Many people come to yoga with back issues. It is one of the major reasons that push people to begin to practice yoga. For these people, the idea of holding any variation of a back bend can seem scary or outside the realm of possibility. Yet, in most yoga classes you end up doing quiet a few micro backbends: Cow, Cobra, Locust, upward-facing dog. Our spine is an incredible combination of interconnecting bones, muscle and ligaments that protects the nerves. Backbend postures mobilise those joints and stretch the entire front of the body: throat, chest, shoulders, abdomen, groin, hips, thighs, and ankles.
Often back bends are called heart opening postures and are connected with the Anahata Chakra (the heart chakra) which is associated with empathy, compassion, love, joy and selfless giving. Backbends are counterintuitive to our natural response to curl up in foetal position for comfort. But, as we open up to the world and create those vulnerable energetic spaces we allow our selves to be exposed to whatever it is that is going on in our life. Sometimes we can leave a backbend class with a sense of compassion and peace. Other times we leave feeling irritated as we have opened up a space in our body holding on to emotion. The body keeps score. With a mindful, safe, and compassionate backbend practice we can begin to open up in the mind, body and soul.