Backing Up Backbends

I heart Yoga Journal. Although I have to admit, I get so excited about cuddling up with the latest issue each time it arrives, and then quite frankly can’t ever remember anything I read. It’s a beautiful publication, but it doesn’t seem to impact my brain significantly. Now please don’t get me wrong – I am NOT dissing YJ (especially since they wrote a lovely article about Cowgirl Yoga this past June), perhaps it’s just me and the fact that I typically take this mag to bed and am not at my sharpest while reading it. Something to work on, I know.

Anyhow, something in the October ’09 issue caught my eye (that I remembered), and it’s a nice addendum to Monday’s post on backbends. Check out the article entitled Reinvent Your Wheel on page 90, which includes the following:

Why We Do Backbends
Whether they come naturally or not, beckbends are well worth your effort. Here are a few reasons why:

They stretch and strengthen. Backbends stretch the entire length of your front body and strengthen your back, arms, and legs. This adds up to better posture. The stress of sitting and of doing day-today tasks hunch you forward; when done well, backbends open the upper back and chest, and stabilize the shoulders so that your posture feels integrated.

They help you breathe. Since backbends stretch your breathing apparatus – the diaphragm, the lungs, and the intercostal muscles between each rib – they can help you breathe deeper in daily life.

They lift you up. Energetically, backbends are uplifting, stimulating poses. If your energy feels down or low, a backbend practice can shift your energy in a positive direction.

They empower you. Backbends help you connect to the mysterious intricacies of your back body, an area that is usually neglected – out of sight, out of mind. Learning more about your body and its abilities is always confidence boosting. When you press up into your first Wheel or you balance in Scorpion pose, you will undoubtedly feel empowered.

And all this is why they feel sooooooo good. I love the languaging here, particularly the empowering part; I also like to think of my back body as having ‘mysterious intricacies’. Who knew? Hooray for backbends, and the weekend too.