The meaning of backward bending asanas

No matter which type of Yoga you are practicing, backward bending asanas are a very important part. In backward bending, you have to fully bend your spine. Other than forward bending, this is not a movement that is included in our daily routine. If you are carefully watching your daily activities, you will find many occasions, where you are going for a forward bend, e.g. when you are trying to lift something up from the floor. But you will rarely find a movement where you are using the possibility of the spine for backward bending. So basically we can say that usually, we are using our spine only in one dimension. But for a proper balance, we have to use all dimensions (forward, backward, sidewise and rotation). This explains the important role of the backward bending asanas. Furthermore, practicing backward bending asanas gives us the benefit of a strong and flexible spine. 

But how to do backward bending in the right way? To understand this, we have to take a look at our anatomy. The spine consists of 5 parts (from top to bottom): the Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar, Sacral and Coccygeal region. Within these 5 parts, we have 26 bones (vertebrae). All those bones are internally connected with vertebral discs. If people are suffering from pain in their spine, most of the times the vertebral discs are too dry or slipped and the bones are touching each other. Most of the times, this is happening because of a one-dimensional usage of the spine. In this case, we have to prepare our body in a soft way for recovering from this and slowly start with movements in all directions. After gaining more flexibility and strength, we can focus on our backward bending.

If we are working on backward bending, we have to think of the whole spine. The most common mistake is, that people are bending only from one part. Mostly, they are trying to bend from the Sacral region, which often results in lower back pain. The goal is to bend the whole spine, to bend all parts of it. This requires a proper warm up as well as much flexibility, strength and knowledge. For more information on how to practice backward bending in the right way, please contact us and join our classes. Especially in our Yoga Teacher Training courses, we will explain more details during our anatomy classes.

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