Benefits of adding backbends to your yoga practice
I think integrating backbends into our practice more frequently is a valuable thing.
◼️ Backbends can help rebalance the spine that may have a little too much of that computer slouch going on.
◼️ Backbends can help release tension in the front body.
◼️ Backbends also provide an opportunity to create greater flexibility, strength and comfort in your back.
Here are 2 simple ways to add more backbends into your vinyasa yoga practice.
First, when you come into your halfway lift, lift up high enough so you feel your back extensors work! (Or so your shoulders are a little higher than your hips).
The second way you can reap the benefits of adding more backbends into your yoga practice is to double or triple down on the number of backbends you include in your salutations! Yes, you can still do Chaturanga-Updog, but balance that combination out with a few more locusts, cobras and even unclasped bows!
For example, in your sun salutation, from Down Dog, rock forward to plank and then come to the floor for locust.
Focus on evening out the work in your upper, mid and low back. Squeeze your inner legs and insides of your feet together to feel the glutes and hamstrings turn on.
Then from Locust, come into low/medium cobra. Again, distribute the sensation and work between the upper, mid and lower back. With the fingertips press down and create the action of pulling the mat back towards your hips
Finally, from cobra, transition into "unclasped bow". If you like traditional bow pose where you feel a nice opening on the front body - this is not that :) But it will get the whole back body working (entire back, glutes and hamstrings) and that's a valuable thing. After holding for a breath or two go ahead and catch hold of the feet for that nice opening! Then continue on into your Downward Facing Dog :)
Note: this is not the only way I do my practice. It's when I feel like I need a little more activation in my back body or if I've been doing a lot of sitting or driving, that I may incorporate it a little more. What's your favorite backbend?
As always this is just my own opinion based on my experience and knowledge at this time. There’s always more to learn and consider. Not all exercises work for everyone, so please listen to your body and do what is best for you.