While it can be an advantage to have a beautifully mobile spine when back-bending, for longevity and structure we must balance that with strength in the right places.
So where do we need to be open?
- hip flexors
- Chest (pectorials and latissimus dorsi)
- External rotation and adduction of the humerous
What about strength?*
- A strong core, including the lower back is the foundation of back bending
- As are strong legs and glutes
*Think of a high lunge (crescent) where you are able to stay strong in your legs and core, then explore a backbend. If you can do this you are on your way to a beautiful back bending journey/relationship.
So how do we do this?
- Core stability/strength is essential. Strength and stability in your entire trunk from your lower ribs to your knees will support you in your back bending practice. (Barre class is your friend this week or any of my previous core focussed barre/pilates classes, check out the Facebook group library. x)
- Opening up the front of the shoulders and chest without flying open through the front ribs (so start with step 1 then move to this 🙂 )
- External rotation of the shoulders with the arms in front, at the sides and above your body (covered in this week’s yoga, or check out last week’s shoulder yoga sequence for more specifics.)
- The ability to plug your shoulder blades into and down your back while reaching overhead (this is hard! Try it now. It’s what we should do in down dog every time :#)
- The ability to lean into the support of our shoulder structures (hello yin 💛 )
- Breathe baby (need I say more?)
In summary, try these three points when entering a backbend:
- Find a subtle posterior tilt of the pelvis (lengthen/tuck the tailbone)
- Cinch in around the waist (tighten your corset up)
- Retract the shoulder blades towards each other (without losing step 1 and 2!) and feel that wonderful heart-opening position