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Asana Analysis Private Yoga Instructor Los Angeles Santa Monica Yoga For The Back Body

Published on June 5th, 2023 | by Catherine Tingey

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Yoga For The Back Body

Yoga For The Back Body

I often create ‘Top 5’ Lists of Poses in my head—curated sets of poses I think EVERYONE should be doing.

In my current Top 5 iteration, there is a back bend, a hip opener, a forward bend, a twist and Savasana.

All 5 categories are important, but due to modern life’s reliance on spinal flexion, backbends are absolutely essential.

Backbends strengthen the back body and put the spine into extension, the opposite of flexion.

[Flexion = folding forward. Extension = bending backward.]

Age, lifestyle factors such as the position we spend most time in, emotional factors, and genetics determine how well our spine will support us through life.

We have all seen a few aged people whose gaze is arrested at their feet. [I was once shocked to meet a 31 yo male with a kyphotic thoracic spine. It was not genetic, but rather lifestyle and emotional factors. ] These changes occur gradually— they do not happen overnight.

This is precisely where Yoga For The Back Body comes in.

Everyone over 30 should be doing some back body pose regularly. For women who wear heels often, this is a must!

This category of postures, when practiced gently and consistently, will strengthen your back body to improve posture, breathing, balance, gait and confidence.

[You must also keep the front body open by releasing hip flexors, belly and upper chest, but that is for a different article.]

Cobra Pose Private Yoga Santa Monica Brentwood Pacific Palisades

Cobra Pose, beginner back body/back extension posture

* * *

Let’s look at some beginner, intermediate and advanced back extension poses.

Note: Most of the back body poses are practiced from a prone position (on the belly). It is advised to not have a meal or even lots of liquid before practicing these.

As mentioned above, the flexibility of hip flexors, belly, rib cage and front of chest will determine how accessible backbends are.

Do not get hung up on how far you can backbend; everyone has a uniquely shaped spine.

Focus on the fact you have strength to lift your spine away from the floor while on your belly.

BEGINNER

Baby Cobra & Cobra

Sphinx

INTERMEDIATE

Upward Facing Dog

Locust

Locust variations such as Reverse Snow Angel

Pilates Swimming

ADVANCED

Bow

Upward Bow

I consider backbends an essential component of longevity.

There are so many things I could say based on observation of the hundreds of people who walk by my windows each month, as well as the thousands of private yoga classes I have taught.

Briefly: as your head falls forward, your balance is compromised.

With balance compromised, it’s easier to fall.

However, years before that, when your spine cannot be upright in a neutral position (3 curves—lumbar, thoracic, cervical), you lose the ability to breathe deeply and present yourself to the world, you lose confidence and your life force diminishes.

I rarely use fear narratives in my blog, but they do get people’s attention.

Traditional education omits how to take care of our vessel.

If you want to learn how yoga can enhance your life, transform your posture and be a tool for longevity, feel free to reach me here.

Be well and Namaste,

Catherine

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Entrepreneur, yogini, designer, award-winning filmmaker, personal trainer and former marathon runner. She left a career in finance to start her own business and along the way, became a yoga teacher. She has been practicing yoga for 31 years and teaching privately for 11 years.

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About the Author

Entrepreneur, yogini, designer, award-winning filmmaker, personal trainer and former marathon runner. She left a career in finance to start her own business and along the way, became a yoga teacher. She has been practicing yoga for 31 years and teaching privately for 11 years.



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