Due to our daily activities, a lot of us habitually round our shoulders and backs with actions like driving, texting, computer work, cycling etc. In backbends we do exactly the opposite which is why they are so great.
The spinal column is a ‘stacked pile’ of vertebrae and discs. Groups of muscles extend all along it, covering and supporting it from all sides. Maintenance of the spine in a straight and aligned position, despite all movement, depends totally on the balanced supportive contraction of the muscles. The muscles themselves are unconsciously controlled through posture.
Research has shown that 90 percent of backache has its origin in muscular imbalance. If the imbalances are prolonged then the stack pile of the vertebral column is misaligned, the ligaments are strained and symptoms of spondylitis, slipped disc, sciatica and osteoarthritis begin to develop.
When warming up to practise backbends, mobilise your spine in different directions; for example cat-cow variations, gentle twists and side bends. Backbends are also front stretches so they benefit from open and relaxed hips and the surrounding muscles. The front of the shoulders and chest also need to be warmed up for backbends. For perfect alignment in backbends it’s important to have the following:-
- Create a solid foundation
- Engage your core
- Relax your shoulders down and back and squeeze the shoulder blades together
- Keep the neck long and aim for an even arch over the whole spine.
- Keep the buttock muscles engaged during the backbend.
A few backbends which we will be learning about in detail over the following weeks are:
- Easy Cobra Pose [Saral Bhujangasana]
- Cobra Pose [Bhujangasana]
- Snake Pose [Sarpasana]
- Locust Pose [Shalabhasana]
- Bow Pose [Dhanurasana]
- Shoulder Pose [Kandharasana]
- Camel Pose [Ushtrasana]
- Half Moon Pose [Crescent Pose]
- Pigeon Pose [Kapotasana]
- Raised Bow Pose [Urdhava Dhanur Asana]
Neelanjana Bharadwaj- #Yoga Expert