Yoga Backbends for better Posture
Practicing backbends is integral to maintaining height and good posture while one ages. The purpose of backbends has very little to do with your back – which is ironic given that is where the pinch and ache is felt later on if wheel, camel, or even bridge pose, are approached too aggressively. The goal of any backbend is to counter the long term forward slouching posture exaggerated by daily routines such as hunching forward over a computer for eight hours.
In a backbend, the length of the back side of the body shortens while the distance between both ends move closer to one another. This, in turn, lengthens and stretches the front side of the body as the two ends move further apart. Â It is important to practice this range of motion regularly because if you don’t use it you lose it.
It is often accepted as fact that as one grows older, shoulders roll in and down and the front of the body shortens. This causes one to hunch forward and lose height. But the body is an amazingly adaptive instrument, and the only reason this progressive forward hunching happens is because that is the direction in which we teach our bodies to adapt given our activities.
An example of this is seen across developed countries while observing middle aged people crouching down to sit on the floor – which is often accompanied by groans, pops and snaps and accepted as normal. But in nations where it is common for people to get up and down from a seated position on the ground or floor several times a day, we witness seniors continuing to perform this motion with ease. That is because they haven’t taught their body any patterns of limitation in this regard.
The majority of our time is spent in forward bending positions, so backbends remind our body of its full range of motion in order to keep the spine from permanently curving forward. Start off slow with gentle backbends like cobra pose, ensuring that the bend is equally distributed throughout the entire spine so pressure isn’t concentrated on one vertebrae. Open your heart and breath into the expansion experienced through the front of the body!