1. Improves posture
Most of us spend the day sitting down and over time this can have a negative impact on our posture, making it more hunched and protruding our shoulders and neck forward. Backbends help counteract this by bending the spine in the opposite direction, opening up the chest, lengthening the spine and strengthening the upper back. All of this will help improve our posture and help us carry our bodies better.
2. Opens up the shoulders and chest Backbends are great for helping open the shoulders and chest – an area where many of us hold a lot of tension, particularly if you suffer from anxiety, stress or fatigue. This can result in shallower breathing as our lungs can become compressed, making us feel less optimal. By opening the shoulders and chest, we create space for our lungs to breathe more deeply and openly and allow more oxygen to flow to the body.
3. Helps alleviate back pain
If only I had a penny for every time I hear somebody talk about about lower back pain. Our back is often in a state of chronic pain because we spend so much time facing and bending forward, and not backward. When we start practicing backbends, we counteract the impact of this, and ease stress on parts of the spine that are often stuck in the chronic forward-position.
4. Boosts energy levels Practicing backbends are a great way to give you a boost of energy. If you’ve ever done a backbend, then you’ve felt that rush of energy that revitalises the whole body. Your breath feels deeper and your sense of awareness sharpens. Similarly, back bending helps stimulate all chakras in the body, and clears energetic blocks that make way for a big boost of energy.
5. Stimulates the heart chakra
When we bend backwards, we naturally broaden across the chest and open up the heart chakra. The heart chakra is the fourth chakra, located in the middle of the chest. Our body’s natural response to danger is to curl up, protecting our most vulnerable part - our heart. Backbends do the very opposite action opening us up to the world. We are exposing ourselves and that takes courage - but also helps us be braver! Overcoming our fears on the mat can give us courage off the mat too.
Please be aware that it is essential to approach back bends safely, working slowly and sensitively with the intricacies of your own unique body. Therefore, it is highly advised that you initially start practicing them with a yoga teacher who you trust and feel comfortable with. If you have any other questions, please do get in contact with me :-). Namaste!