I do not do backbends like this anymore. Too many hours of teaching yoga, an already extreme lumbar curve, coupled with very tight hamstrings from all the tennis and running around I do has made this deep a backbend no longer appropriate for my practice. I still do healthy backbends, but I have learned through my injuries to ensure that yoga is a healing practice and not a hurting practice. I am always improving my skills and understandings as a teacher to help my students get the most out of their yoga practice.
This week I have been taking a course online with one of my favorite yoga therapists Olga Kabel on Backbending safely. She pointed out that there are Show Horses poses that look really good but are not necessarily accomplishing what we aim to do and then there are Work Horses poses that don’t look as sexy but have far more benefits. To the side are examples of each.
Understanding the reason for doing a backbend is very important. Backbends have two purposes depending on the backbend you do– strengthening the back and stretching the front. Knowing why you are doing a pose is important. So if you are not clear on that, ask your teacher? Breathwork can play a role in this as well. As I have worked with my students this week on safe backbends, we have raised our chest up during inhales and come back to neutral on the exhales to keep our attention on the purpose of these poses.
It is not how hard you practice, it is how smart
The pose above looks simple, but with the right engagement of muscles surrounding my spine and not pushing on my hands, it becomes a strong back-strengthening pose. In order for yoga to stay a practice for life, it is important to understand the benefits and potential problems with each asana. That is why a highly trained teacher who pays attention to these details is important. I am that and more. I also offer safe assistance to students who want to try more difficult poses to allow them to feel the challenge without the danger. We have fun doing that.
Please feel free to contact me at 239-634-0739 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If you are interested in coming to my yoga classes on Heaven Lane, please click on my events calendar for times and for a map. I am asking for reservations during season to keep the class small and customized. I can also work with your privately in person or over the computer. Use the contact form to RSVP or ask questions.