Every month at H-Kore we focus on different aspects in our yoga practice. It allows to create a connection to what you are doing in the beginning, allow you to build your energy and find your way to a more advanced practice. This October we will be focusing on Backbends for a strong, flexible and pain free back in our Yoga Flow classes. The practice will include 3 attributes: Physical, Mental & Emotional.
Most of us come to yoga seeking sanctuary from the chaos of daily life. We want to step away from the ongoing demands of life and step into a quiet space where we can connect with our true self without judgments, expectations or apprehensions and find some semblance of freedom. But when it comes to backbends, the yogic landscape can get temporarily murky, as with few exceptions this family of poses elicit a passionate response from most yogis. Some love them and want to pepper their practice with deeper ones, others hate them and dread the inevitable discomfort thus avoiding them as much as possible, while others have an ongoing love/hate relationship.
If you’re yet to make friends with this family, chances are you haven’t experience backbends fully and properly. Perhaps it’s the stiff and tight front body, the weak and painful back, or your body’s instinct to protect the vulnerable heart from opening that is holding you back from exploring with these asanas.
Understanding that the discipline of yoga is to bring freedom by cutting out all the chatter that allows us to become more fully connected to ourselves, then backbends must be practiced in a way that accepts and honours any feelings of resistance while fostering the benefits they provide. The point of this practice is NOT about achieving picture perfect poses nor about using the body to get into poses. Practicing yoga is about using poses to access our body and our mind in a way that feels stable, equanimous and balanced creating physical and mental freedom.
Physical Attributes to foster while working with Backbends
Backbends are invigorating and strengthening. They open the muscles of the front body commonly tight and short due to poor posture. They stretch the hip flexors and help open up the shoulders and chest, an area where lots of us hold tension. They build strength and power in the legs, arms and back muscles. They offer the overstretched and fatigued back muscles relief by shortening them and bringing in a fresh supply of oxygenated blood. By increasing mobility and awareness of the spine backbends improve posture and can help to alleviate back and neck pain.
Mental Attributes to foster while working with Backbends
Our body’s natural response to danger is to curl in, protecting our most vulnerable part - our heart, both the physical heart and the energetic heart space. Backbends do the very opposite action opening us up to the world. We are exposing ourselves and that takes courage - but also builds more of it! Overcoming our fears on the mat can give us courage off the mat too.
Emotional Attributes to foster while working with Backbends
Backbends offers the perfect opportunity to explore attitudes of self-compassion and acceptance towards the body’s strengths and limitations. Staying fully present and aware of your body’s landscape as you backbend ensures you practice in a way that feels balanced both mentally and physically. Backbends can sometimes release stored emotions: frustration, fear, anger, sadness as well as joy and love, so it’s not unusual to feel some of this again as it works through your body. As backbends open the chest and upper body they stimulate the Heart chakra (Anahata Chakra) allowing us to open more fully in our lives too; to our emotions, experiences and our relationships
Sounds interesting? Come practice with us in our Quarry Bay studio!
We can’t wait to strengthen, stretch and sweat with you! The first step is to create your account, once you’ve registered just purchase your trial pack, book your class and get ready to enjoy Hong Kong’s most talked about workout!