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Yoga is an ancient practice that helps bring your mind, soul, and body together. It is made up of a number of poses known as asanas. These asanas stretch and tone your body and also help heal and purify your body. Although there is no definitive method to categorize the various yoga asanas, they have been classified based on the main physical orientations. The asanas in these categories share similar physical and energetic effects. Some of the different yoga asana categories are Standing Yoga Poses, Back Bend Yoga Poses, Seated Yoga Poses, Supine Yoga Poses, Prone Yoga Poses, Strength Yoga Poses, Balancing Yoga Poses, and Forward bending Poses. An example of backbend variations in yoga would be the cobra pose and bhujangasana. Practicing these poses will help you have a more flexible backbend. Although initially, it might be difficult to do a perfect backbend, with regular yoga practice you will soon be able to master the various back bends yoga poses.
Backbend poses in yoga improve your hip flexibility and also open up your front body. It has also been observed to improve the mobility of your thoracic and lumbar spine. If you have been experiencing mobility issues, practicing yoga asanas is a great way to get more flexible and improve your range of motion. Backbend Yoga asanas need to be balanced with equal intensity and quantity of forward-bend yoga poses to get all the benefits it offers. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle or spend most of your time behind a desk, you may find most of the back bends to be challenging. Fortunately, it gets easier with practice. In no time you will be able to do the Fish pose or the matsyasana like a seasoned yoga expert. There are several different types of back bend yoga poses that you can try to improve your flexibility and increase the mobility of your thoracic and lumbar spine.
Although backbend asanas are extremely beneficial to your body and mind, you need to practice them carefully. The back bend yoga pose can be effectively performed at home or anywhere else only after a proper warm-up session that involves stretching your hips, chest, and abdomen. Once you start doing back bends, you need to start with gentle asanas like Child’s Pose, followed by Tabletop pose, and then Cat Pose to help your body prepare. The Sphinx pose, Bridge Pose, and even the Locust Pose will help your body prepare itself for deeper backbend asanas by strengthening your arms, legs, and the back of your torso.
Just like other asanas, anyone can perform back bend asanas without too much trouble. In fact, you may already be performing backbends unwittingly as it is a form of natural bend and stretch that helps you find relief from back pain or body pain. Performing back bend yoga asanas while paying attention to the breathing techniques and being more aware of your body enriches your entire experience. Some of the backbend asanas that are popular among yoga enthusiasts include the salabhasana, fish pose, and locust pose. It is also a good idea to perform yoga for digestion. There are several different types of back bend yoga poses that you can try to improve your flexibility and increase the mobility of your thoracic and lumbar spine.
If you have any back or neck injury problems currently or in the past, you need to consult a doctor before proceeding with backbend yoga. Once you get the green signal from your doctor you can ease into back bends under the guidance of an experienced yoga trainer.
Let’s take a look at some of the different backward bend yoga asanas: Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend) Matsyasana (Fish pose) Salamba bhujangasana (Sphinx Pose) Ustrasana (Camel Posture) Ardha dhanurasana (Half Locust Pose) Salabhasana (Locust Pose) Ashtangasana (Eight-Limbed Pose) Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) While some of these back bends are meant for beginners, the others are considered advanced back bending asanas. Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend) While standing straight, place your palms with the fingers pointed downwards on your lower back. Then press your feet towards the ground, squeeze your thighs and buttocks as you pull up your kneecaps. Then press your hips forward, and slowly arch your torso backward. Keep looking forwards and use your arms and legs for support. Breathe and hold this position for three to seven breaths before going back to the standing position slowly. Total Time: 10 Minutes Matsyasana (Fish Pose) Lie down on your back with your arms on your sides and legs slightly apart. Put your arms with your palms facing down under your thighs right below your buttocks and then lift your chest while arching your spine. Remember to avoid using your head or neck for support while holding this pose. Breathe slowly and hold this pose for three to eight breaths. Then slowly remove the weight from your head and move back down to the floor. Total Time: 10 Minutes Salamba bhujangasana (Sphinx Pose) Lie on your belly with your lower arms flat on the floor and your elbows under your shoulders. Keep your chin on the floor and your legs together. Then press your lower arms into the floor as you inhale and lift your chest and head off the floor. Remember to keep your neck and spine in line. Then pull up your kneecaps while squeezing your buttocks and thighs as you press your pubic bone to the floor. Then place your elbows by your side and use your arms to lift yourself higher. Draw your chin inwards and gaze straight ahead. Breathe and hold this pose for two to six breaths before exhaling and returning to the floor. Total Time: 10 Minutes Ustrasana (Camel Posture) After the Child Pose, place your knees hip-width apart with your hands on the lower back with fingers pointed downwards. Then inhale slowly and press your knees down and lengthen your spins. Exhale slowly and press your hips forwards while squeezing your thighs and buttocks as you support your body with your arms. Then slowly place one hand on each heel. If this is not possible, place your hands on your lower back. Then press your hips forward as you lift your chest towards the ceiling. Breathe and hold this pose for three to six breaths. Total Time: 10 Minutes Ardha Dhanurasana (Half Locust Pose) Lie on your belly on the floor with your chin to the floor, arms on your sides, and legs together. Then rock your hips side to side to move your arms underneath your boy in such a way that your hands are on your thighs and your forearms are along the side of your hip bone. Inhale slowly and lengthen your legs with your toes away from your body. Then pull up your kneecaps, while squeezing your buttocks and thighs. Then press your arms downwards and gradually lift your legs towards the sky or ceiling. Breathe and hold this pose for two to five breaths before exhaling and returning to the floor. Total Time: 10 Minutes Salabhasana (Locust Pose) Lie down on your belly with your arms by your side, forehead on the floor, and your palms facing upwards Then turn your big toes so that you rotate your thighs inwards. Then squeeze your buttocks and press your pubic bone to the floor. Then exhale slowly and lift your upper body, head arms, and legs. You need to support your body on your belly, lower ribs, and front pelvis. Then squeeze your buttocks and reach through your legs and lengthen your back legs with your big toes turned inwards. Then raise your arms and stretch back and push up towards the ceiling. Gaze slightly upwards as you keep your head lifted and neck long. Breathe and hold this pose for thirty seconds to a minute before exhaling. Total Time: 10 Minutes Ashtangasana (Eight-Limbed Pose) After the Dog pose, gradually exhale and lower your chest and chin to the floor with your palms on either side of your chest. Then place your elbows close to your sides and press your chest towards the floor while you lift your tailbone towards the sky or the ceiling. Then breathe and hold this pose for two to four breaths. Exhale slowly and return to the Dog pose Total Time: 8 Minutes Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) Lie on your belly on the floor with your chin on the floor and your palms flat while your legs and shoulders are together. Then pull your kneecaps up while squeezing your thighs and buttocks as you press your pubic bone to the floor. Inhale and then slowly lift your chest and head off the floor without using your arms. Breathe and hold this bhujangasana pose for two to six minutes and exhale. Total Time: 8 Minutes
Back bend yoga poses are slightly more challenging compared to other yoga poses like Sitting yoga poses, Balancing postures, Standing postures, and Inversions yoga poses. However, it is this challenging aspect that encourages many people to give it a try. It opens up your front body, increases blood circulation, and makes your heart stronger. It also boosts your flexibility, increasing your range of motion. Here some of the many benefits offered by adding back bends to your yoga routine: It alleviates back pain It helps improve your posture It strengthens your back muscles It stretches your hip flexors It improves your breathing It increases blood circulation It opens up your chest and shoulders It boosts your mood It stretches your abdominal muscles It lowers stress and anxiety It alleviates neck pain
Backward bend yoga poses may appear intimidating to yoga beginners. Unless done under the careful guidance of a trained yoga teacher, poses like the ustrasana or the camel posture are better avoided. Regular practice is required to do a flexible backbend without too much trouble. Back bends should not be performed by anyone with a serious back or neck injury. Back bend yoga poses may be painful for people with weak core postural muscles.
Keep your feet grounded while doing backward bending asanas. Bring your limbs towards your midline to strengthen your core. Practice the Belly Lock pose by pulling your navel inwards and upwards. Practice safe backbend yoga asanas by relaxing your shoulders and slow down your back. Work on maintaining an even arch over your whole spine while practicing back bends. Don’t strain your neck while performing the Ustrasana pose. Don’t move in or out too quickly from backbend yoga poses.
The best thing about backward bending asanas is that they can be done whether at a gym or in the comfort of your home. Like other yoga asanas, backbend yoga does not require any special equipment except maybe a yoga mat. If you are doing backbend yoga for the first time, it is advisable to do it under the tutelage of an experienced yoga trainer. Back bends require a lot of patience. So be ready to work on your technique before you are finally able to execute a perfect backbend yoga asana. At the end of the day, backbend yoga asanas offer you a lot of advantages besides improving your flexibility. With sedentary lifestyles being more of a norm, you need to take up additional activities like yoga, running, and swimming to improve your physical health. These activities also boost your energy level and increase the production of happy hormones, allowing you to distress and find relief from constant anxiety. It is time to reclaim your body from the growing pains of age. Make back bends a part of your yoga routine to turn back time to a healthier and fitter body.
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