Yoga is so much more than a physical practice. Perhaps you’ve started a yoga journey to get fitter, but have you noticed any added benefits? Backbends are a huge part of our asana (physical yoga pose) practice yet they open the door to improving more than just our spine flexibility. Amelia, Kula Yoga instructor and founder of Nutrition & Yoga Co walks us through 5 things that occur when we start to backbend.
Backbends are suitable for every level of yoga practitioner, from beginner’s through to advanced. I’ve found huge improvements in different areas of my wellbeing while practicing backbends.

  1. Prana flow. In our yoga practice we use movement and breath together to release stuck energy along the spine and throughout the body. It’s this synchronisation of movement and breath together that re-invites what yogis refer to as Prana, or life force, into these blockages or dull areas in the body.
  2. Increased circulation. The physical effects that are evoked from yoga postures can be profound quite. Backbends in particular are strong energising postures. They tap into the circulatory system by increasing blood flow throughout the body, all the way from the head to the toes.
  3. Instant energy. Backbends can excite the nervous system leading to an increase in energy levels and boost your feeling of vitality. A yoga practice with heart opening backbends can be a fantastic way to start the day and leave you feeling more energised and awakened. This will especially be noticeable if the body is feeling a little fatigued or lethargic. For some, backbends can almost be like a shot of espresso without the caffeine or that wired feeling. In saying that, too many backbends in the evening can over stimulate you and keep you awake. Being mindful of this will help you with your practice.
  4. Mood enhancement. This effect on the nervous system also extends to the mood. These postures can be uplifting and helpful if you’re feeling stressed or even a bit flat.
  5. Feeling open. Simply by opening up the heart space, releasing muscle and connective tissue in the front body and lengthening the spine, we create more space to take in big expansive breaths. It’s the breath that brings that life force or energy back into the body.

If you want to jump into a backbending practice, catch Amelia at Kula’s “The Art of Backbends” workshop on Saturday January 17, 1-3 p.m. $40. For more information on the workshop and to book online: https://kulayoga.com.au/workshops.
 

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