Mastering the Backbend: Free Your Spine
You might have heard of the life-changing effects of breathing exercises and maybe you’ve even dabbled in a little breath of fire. Have you heard about the super-charging life-hack of back bending?
First, let’s get these two misconceptions about backbends out of the way. You do not have to be a naturally flexible person to do backbends and you do not have to be into yoga to do them either. That means backbends benefits are just waiting for you and once you try them, you’ll be hooked.
Many backbend yoga poses will help you experience a whole new level of energy and you don’t have to do a whole yoga class to do them. When possible, we should always practice backend stretches and backbend exercises.
Did we mention anyone can backbend? That’s right, anyone who engaged with the proper exercises associated with backbending can receive benefits, no matter what you experience level.
Many of us sit when we are at work and go days, maybe even years, without stretching. The result of this is often low energy and chronic pain as the slouch life can make us quite negative by the end of the day and week making it hard to be chipper when we should be enjoying the life we work so hard for.
Backbends can pull you out of the downward spiral that a sedentary lifestyle can bring with it and catapult you into a whole new optimistic life. Seriously.
A backbend can be a very simple backward movement in your spine. Over time, you’ll find you have more mobility in your spine like you did when you were a kid.
So are you curious to learn how to do a backbend yoga pose? Here is the step-by-step.
Introducing Your Favorite New Hobby
There are so many ways to do backbends. You can do them laying down, standing, or kneeling. If you’re cringing thinking of photos you’ve seen of people bent in half, your back bending does not have to be anything like that.
There are very gentle and easy backbends that you can even modify with cushions as you will see below. Then are deeper backbends that require a good degree of both warm-up and flexibility.
Want to know a real secret? The real advanced way to backbend is to know how to engage the right muscles (we will break that down for you in easy-to-digest tidbits in a moment).
It’s good to have goals to work towards but you do not have to do the most advanced backbends just to receive the awesome benefits you’re about to read.
Just how great will you feel when you do backbends daily? Probably better than you’ve ever felt before! Take a look at all these powerful changes you have to look forward to.
7 Ways Backbending Will Improve Your Life
1. Improves posture
Backbends will help restore your posture so you can avoid costly medical bills and time away from work due to alignment issues. One of the biggest challenges we face in our modern lifestyle is the negative effects we get from the hunched position we are in most of the day.
Good posture changes everything: Try these 5 Quick Exercises For Better Posture
2. Stimulates digestion
Backbends help stimulate the nervous system, the circulation, and the digestive process to help you feel light and clear-headed.
3. Increases energy
When working on your backbends, the energy pockets in the spine are released to give you a huge burst of energy that isn’t jittery and doesn’t have a crash. It’s incredible how much energy is accessible to you just by practicing backbends.
4. Boosts your mood
One of the biggest benefits of adding backbends to your daily routine is that it helps your outlook on life. They help us work on our posture and body language which will has great emotional benefits.
It helps open your body’s energy centers to restore well being and help combat stress. By having more energy, it makes things seem easier, and you can get more done. Your hormonal balance can also improve from the detoxifying it induces in the digestion and internal organ system that happens when your stomach is stretched.
5. Reduces stiffness and back pain
If you’ve had back pain, you know how it can stop you in your tracks. Many people suffer from compression in the lower back and this can help strengthen your back to hold you upright, keep you aligned, and hold disks in place.
While you should exercise more caution when attempting backbends with preexisting pain, if you work up to the pose within your comfort zone, this will help rebuild the strength you need to overcome pain.
6. Builds a sense of confidence
There is a connection between good posture and good energy, meaning when you feel better physically your mind and soul will follow. If you keep backbends in your daily practice, this can combat text neck and start to give you a better sense of self-esteem.
The strong core that backbends offer effects not only for your physical body but your mental well being will start to consistently feel good with this simple daily movement.
7. Helps heart and lung health.
Yes really, a backbend a day, might keep the doctor away.
Read this next: Shoulder Exercises at Home: Rebuild Strength
Tips for Safe Backbends
As with most physical movement, there are some important safety precautions you need to know in order to do it without hurting yourself.
Tip 1: Pull Your Lower Belly Muscles In
Pulling your lower belly in when you perform backbends will help stabilize you. This engages the transverse abdominals that are a deeper layer of muscles that are not engaged just by ‘flexing’ your stomach muscles.
Tip 2: Warm Up Your Body
Doing some gentle warmup stretches for the hip flexors before backbends can also help. Never do deep backbends without first warming your body up with some type of movement and easier backbends.
Tip 3: Start With Easier Stretches
Try a gentle low lunge with your back knee on the floor to warm up the front of the hips.
Tip 4: Visualize a Circle
When you backbend, try to think of making the spine a circle instead of just bending in one place.
Tip 5: Neutralize Your Spine
Even when you’re prepped to bend your back safely know that it will help you to also balance your backbends by doing some forward bends as well. This helps neutralize the spine.
Backbends You Can Try Today
It doesn’t matter what level you are at, you can begin working towards mastering the backend at any level.
A simple beginner backbend is just laying on your stomach and lifting up to your elbows. This will start to move the spine in the opposite direction and usually, this won’t be hard for someone with a tight back. You can start by doing this pose just three times and slowly increase to after you start to feel things loosening up day-by-day.
Another good pose for starting out or just daily maintenance is a simple bridge. You can use a pillow or two under your hips to support you as well. This one helps lower blood pressure and calms you down while the others are more energizing.
If that feels easy, you may be ready to try an intermediate backbend which is similar but you fully straighten your arms. Lay on your stomach and place your hands underneath your shoulders with your palms facing down.
Press into your hands and slowly lift your chest being mindful of how your back feels so you don’t push to the point of pain. Come back down and rest and if you feel good, go ahead and do five. You can work up to ten and you’ll see you get a quick energy reboot from this exercise.
Months down the road, you may be ready to try a juicy advanced backbend. These bends release so much energy, you don’t want to do them before bed unless you want to stay up all night!
Lay on your back, bend your knees placing your feet on the ground, and lift your hips. Eventually, your goal is to get one line from the shoulders to the hips to the knees but do your best and just be sure to take deep breaths.
A great backbend to challenge yourself with that is also safe is what they usually call a backbend in gymnastics. This is done by laying on the ground with bent knees and your feet on the ground.
Place your palms next to your ears face down so your fingers are just under your shoulders. Press into your hands and feet to lift your body up into an arch. Make sure to breathe and it will be much easier.
Level up: Some really advanced yogis will start from standing and lean back into this pose, if you want an extra challenge and an extra core workout, work on this as well. Just be careful of your spine, you won’t want to push this advancement too quickly.
Backbending For The Mind, Body, & Soul
The practice of backbending traces back as far as written history itself. Yogis have been using backbends to remain youthful and agile for millennia.
They also recommend backbending as a way to open the Heart chakra which is considered the door to the higher states of consciousness that can be achieved with a regular yoga practice.
The bottom line is, whether we are seeking nirvana, or a natural remedy to get us through the day with a smile, backbends are one of the most effective solutions to getting there. Remember to be patient and kind to your body, when we give ourselves the time and room to grow, we will literally be able to turn the world upsidedown.
We are so excited for you to start enjoying the new levels of energy backbends offer you today!
Want more body yoga magic? Try this Yoga Flow for Your Back.