I love back-bending poses (extension of the spine), though I don’t find them easy. They can require lots of upper body strength. That’s why I add weights into my exercise regime. This helps to strengthen the muscles in the shoulders, upper back and arms. Not only that, it will leave you looking all toned in your vest tops which is perfect for the summer! It maybe something you wish to consider adding into your fitness routine.
I like to do back-bends everyday in some form or another. In the morning, when I feel all stiff and groggy, I like to do some cat/cow stretches (four-point kneeling with a flexion and extension of the spine). Maybe diamond press and some low cobras to waken up and mobilise the spine. Once I feel my body is warmed up enough, then I like to move into higher cobras, upward facing dog, darts/shalabasana (locust) and maybe even some wheels and bow pose. This leaves me feeling invigorated and more prepared to face my day. There are a variety of back-bending options in both yoga and Pilates, in addition to this there are often several variations for each pose. There is never the need to get bored with back-bends…just choose a different one and allow your heart to open.
- Decreases stress and anxiety, when you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body. As well this, both yoga and Pilates work mindfully, both require a certain amount of focus and awareness which means the mind is distracted away form any worries or concerns.
- Improves posture, by opening up through the chest and shoulders and can help to counteract hunched shoulders and back. This is particularly prevalent in those with desk jobs or those living a more sedentary life.
- Increases spine flexibility and mobility
- Stretches the abdominal muscles, by opening up though the front of the body it helps to stretch the rectus abdominus muscles (the superficial muscles located at the front of the torso)
- Gives you a boost of energy.
- Increases oxygen levels
- Stimulates the heart chakra, which makes you more receptive to relationships and experiences
- Helps to alleviate back and neck pain.
- Alleviate back pain – if your have a sore back it’s often because you have spent so much time bending forward. If you have a sore back then you need to do back bends. By doing back-bends you’re helping to reverse the effects that are being experienced by strengthening the muscles and bones within your body, which will in turn help to support the back. Doing back-bends is preventative care, your helping to care for your back and prevent it from getting worse.