Spend most of your times hunched over your keyboard or looking down at your smartphone?
You’re not alone. The modern world demands us to do so. Whether it’s sitting at your desk, sweeping the floor, driving your car or folding your laundry, all of these are patterns that cause our backs to hunch over. We are so busy making a living, going places and filling up our responsibilities, that we oftentimes forget how having a hunched back affects us physically and emotionally.
The muscles across our shoulders and at the back of our neck are strained and this can most likely lead to back pain and headache. Taking deep breaths can be a challenge as the space surrounding the chest is compressed because the shoulders are rounded forward.
Emotionally, we tend naturally to protect the most important part of us, our heart. Having a hunchback suggests insecurities and a lack of trust within ourselves and the people who surround us. It hinders our emotions and our creativity.
Here are some incredible benefits of practicing backbends:
Backbends are called heart opener for a reason. It releases tensions both on the physical and spiritual body, opening more space on the chest, creating more room for emotions. Opening our hearts, exposing our most vulnerable organs and developing our courage, compassion and creativity.
Develop mobility of the spine. We spend most of our days stuck sitting, typing, doing what we have to do to survive. But what we don’t realize is how detrimental it is to our spine. By doing backbends, we counteract the hunchback effect these routines causes, developing its flexibility and mobility.
Posture is corrected. Stand taller. Practicing backbends develops awareness. We become mindful of how we align our back while getting through our day sitting or walking. Proper posture eases pain in the back and neck.
A simple dose of happiness. Doing backbends stretches the whole front of our body, stimulating the nervous system. It relieves stress, improves mood and boosts energy levels. It’s amazing how backbends can be like a natural energy shot!
Opens the heart. When threatened, we curl ourselves inward. Doing backbends feels like literally exposing your heart to risks. With practice, one learns to trust. Being vulnerable is a positive thing. It opens our hearts to emotions and experiences we fear, and allows our creativity to flow freely.
Keep it aligned!
For one to experience all these gifts, the posture has to be properly executed. We want to experience it all safely. So flow with good intention. Be mindful of your body. Approach with composure and stay focused on your breathing.
Make sure to prepare the body. Warm up before doing backbends. A solid foundation is the key to properly hold the posture. Never allow your knees to flare out. Use your inner thighs’ internal rotation. Imagine your inner thighs are rotating in and towards to the floor. This helps the lower back broaden and stops the sacrum from clenching. Lengthen your spine. Do not look upwards but straight ahead to avoid straining the back of the neck. Imagine your sternum is tied to a string and it’s pulling you up.
Remember, never force the body to do anything that hurts. Tune in with good intention and patience. With regular practice, backbends will come naturally. Be open to possibilities. And most importantly, have fun! If you like the look featured in the above image, you can find these workout clothes and compression pants here.