Whether you’re spine is extremely flexible, or it takes you some time to open, most people find some resistance in back bending.
For me, my backbends go through phases. I have a phase where I start to feel open and free. Then, something comes up, and the backbend will be the thing I dread the most.
Whenever I hit that roadblock it’s not just a little uncomfortable, but intense right away.
I used to think it was pain, but then one day I realized that it wasn’t.
I was working on a prep for Kapotasana, and I realized that my back just stopped bending, and my legs were shaking. It wasn’t that I was hurting, but I was stuck. So, I just stayed there. I decided to breathe into it, and see if there was a way I could open.
I realized that I needed to find the strength in my legs. I say that because I know the inner strength is there, but I’m just not tapping into it.
So, I kept breathing, I listened, and I kept my awareness on my legs. They stopped shaking, and I was able to breathe deeper.
I didn’t go further into my backbend, but at least I was able to breathe easy.
As I became more aware of my spinal resistance, I became obsessed with ways to open my spine.
I decided that I didn’t want to be stuck anymore, so I started doing extra postures to understand what I was feeling.
I started doing postures to help me surrender, and began using gravity along with my breath to become aware of where I was tight.
I’m going to share how I started to open my spine, and learned to love the backbend!
In this sequence, we focus on simple postures that cause us to surrender, use gravity and breath to open the spine – from the base all the way through the heart center.
Here are some things to remember:
- Make sure to do these postures really slow.
- You don’t have to go deep into these postures. If you can’t touch your toes, don’t!
- See how long you can hang out in these postures before it becomes too much.
- Don’t just use this time to release the tightness in your back, but really feel what’s going on inside.
- Always release more into your back on the exhale.
- Do this in the morning because backbends raise your energy
- You’ll start to feel free in your body, but you might become emotional. Backbends work with the nervous system, and you’re probably going to release a lot of stored emotions.
- Always end this practice in a forward fold.
- Slow down your mind, and take care of yourself.
1. Start Simple:
- This first forward fold works with the lower back. You want to release and surrender into this posture.
- The second one works the upper back and shoulders. As you grab and pull back on the feet, push the feet forward. Really arch through the back, and create space between the neck, shoulders, and upper back. This will help release stress.
- Then, I show upward dog with a variation. These both work the lower back, and open the heart. In Upward Facing Dog, make sure to really roll the shoulders back, and lift the chin up and back to open the throat.
- When you move onto Ustrasana (Camel), only go as intense as you’d like. If you don’t want to grab the heels, don’t. This sequence is all about going slow and letting go.
2. A Little More Intense:
- When using the wall, push it away from you. Use opposition of force here to find space in your spine.
- Hold the first posture, and the standing postures for about 10 breaths. Start to lower your back down with every exhale. Try to become aware of where gravity stops you, then release further with every exhale.
- You might feel a little bit of panic and resistance, but you can do this.
3. Surrender Into It:
- To do the first posture, start by sitting up straight, and sit between the heels. Then slowly walk yourself back. Get to a comfortable place, and grab the feet. If you can’t bring yourself all the way down, then just stop where it feels right.
- Use the block on any area of your back that feels good, and experiment with your hands and legs. You’ll notice that at first your spine will tighten up, but breathe into it. Let your back melt into to the block (like memory foam) with every exhale.
- As we move into twists, we start to close out the practice. You’ve done so much intense opening at the heart and lower back, and the twist helps to shake it out. Release that tension by holding a simple twist on each side for 10 breaths.
- Do one last opening of the heart.
- End in Balasana.
How did you feel after doing these postures? Did you feel the tension and tightness start to release?
It’s super important to end with child pose because of all of the tension in the back. We just did some deep backbends, so take about 15 deep breaths here!
Tell me below in the comments!