Do you avoid practicing backbends in your yoga practice? They can be uncomfortable, and a little scary, but once you learn to open up your shoulders and the entire front of your body, you will embrace backbending! (If you need help with heart openers check out this article.) In fact, there are many benefits to incorporating backbending into your daily yoga practice. Here are our top four!
It’s no secret that backbending can be energizing! After being stagnant all day, stretching out the spine, and thus opening up the heart center, can send waves of energy through your entire body. Notice your body after a series of backbends…You may feel happy!
#2: Healthy spine, healthy body!
Our spines are meant to be flexible and support us in every movement during the day. However, most of us spend the majority of our time bending forward…sitting at a desk, driving a car or even picking up a child. Safely practicing backbends not only helps to maintain flexibility in your spine, but it can reduce the risk of back injuries. Additionally, backbends will stretch out the entire front body from the quadriceps all the way up the abdominal muscles and chest — even into the throat and neck.
#3: Brings attention to your breath
Breathing in backbends can be one of the hardest things to do! It took me a long time to get used to taking deep breaths when doing any sort of deep backbend. However holding your breath can be stressful, restrict your movement and can even break blood vessels in your face and neck. I know this from experience! While practicing backbends, bring attention to your breath and see if you can breath a little deeper. It will feel weird, and maybe hard at first, but it will lessen the stress you feel and possibly deepen the posture.
#4: Overcome your fears
By moving safely and slowly into backbends you will build strength and confidence in yourself! You will slowly overcome the fears and doubts associated with bending backwards. The “I can’t do that” attitude will slowly start to shift to “I will do that” and eventually become “I can do it”!