Clara Hayes, Soul Strong Yoga Writer & Teacher
If I had to choose one kind of yoga pose to do every single day, it would be a heart opener, hands down. You’ve probably heard yoga instructors throw around the term “heart opener” but what does that really mean? Heart opening is really just a less-intimidating term for a backbend. Backbending can sound scary at first. From afar, it can seem like a practice meant for the Cirque Du Soleil performer that can bring their head between their knees. But the truth is, backbends come in all different forms, shapes, and intensities. Depending on the day, a low cobra, cactus arms, or sphinx pose may be the yoga backbends for you. Other days, wheel, camel, or scorpion might be in your practice. Backbends have a myriad of benefits, from countering our daily slouch to re-energizing the body! Want to learn more about what backbending does for the body and mind? Below I’ve listed 3 incredible benefits of backbending!
Open your heart!
When you practice backbends, you get the chance to stretch out areas where many of us often hold tension (upper back, shoulders, chest). We hold our tension here for a myriad of reasons, but some of them are emotional. Ever feel a tightness in your chest in the midst of a heartache? Or have you felt your shoulders creep up to your ears during times of stress? The psychosomatic connection is very real, and in yoga is usually referred to through the chakras. The sense of well-being that comes after doing a heart opener largely has to do with prana (life force) once again being able to flow through the heart chakra with ease. Once you’ve opened up through backbending, it’s likely you’ll be able to breathe more deeply, find emotional release, and move with a little more ease.
Energize the body!
Backbends are energizing! Sometimes a second cup of coffee isn’t an option, so it might be time to learn how to stop, drop and backbend! When you move through a backbend, it’s common to get a bit of an adrenaline rush. Your nervous system lights up when the spine begins to move in a way that it’s not used to and it invigorates your whole body! Try a backbend next time you’re feeling low, moody, or just plain tired. It might just change your whole day.
Nourish your spine!
In our fast-paced world, it can be hard not to slouch! With computers at our fingertips and steering wheels to droop over, we need to counter the all-too-easy postural deviations that pop up in life. A backbending practice not only dramatically counters habitual forward rounding for a brief moment, but its feel-good effects will make you WANT to carry this feeling of openness into your daily life. Give your spine some love with a backbend of your choice!
Want to learn more about the art of backbending? Check out the following links below!
Ready to deepen your practice? It might be time for Yoga Teacher Training! Take a look at Soul Strong Yoga’s online and self-paced Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Training at www.teachyogaforall.com. You’ll become a 200 hour certified yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance with a specialization in vinyasa yoga for all people.