Stronger More Powerful Backbends
By Carmen Curtis
Stronger More Powerful Backbends With A Hammock
Backbends are incredible postures to include in your daily yoga practice. Firstly, they offer many physical and emotional benefits. Secondly, they can be both exciting and liberating. However, deep backbends can be challenging due to the need for flexible shoulders and hips.
Why are Backbends like Urdvha Danurasana and Natarajasana Challenging?
Deep backbends, like Wheel or Dancer, require a combination of flexible shoulders, hip flexors, and quadriceps. But many people believe backbends are about spinal mobility. Yet, it is less about the back and more about flexibility in shoulders and hip flexors.
Flexibility In Shoulders And Hips
Our daily routines work in contrast to the range of motion in our spine. By promoting closure at our major joints, everyday activities are not in alignment with our physical health. For example, driving a car, sitting at a desk, and sitting in front of the computer. There are very few everyday activities that ask us to open the shoulder or hip joints. Consequently, not many people can access poses like Wheel and Dancer. But backbends are possible for all! With safe technique, knowledge and practice just about anyone can do them.
How To Prepare for Backbends
It is important to safely warm your body and activate key muscle groups before entering into any deep pose.
Begin with basic warming postures. I recommend a sequence of postures that lubricate joints, activate muscles, and build mobility.
Sun Salutation A
Incorporate postures in your practice that target specific areas of the body required to perform the backbend. Give special focus on the shoulders and hip flexors.
Recommended Poses :
Sphinx (Salamba Bhujangasana)
Extended Puppy (Uttana Shishosana)
Low or High Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Remember backbends rely heavily on shoulders and hips! Each of these postures warm, open, and activate areas of the body to safely perform advanced backbends.
It is important to strengthen the core. As backbends become much safer with a strong core. Strengthen, activate, and bring awareness to your low abdominal muscles and the muscles surrounding your pelvis.
Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana)
3 Benefits of Using the Aerial Hammock To Practice Yoga Backbends
To enhance and progress incorporate a hammock as a prop. Doing so will make advanced postures accessible and act as a spotting device keeping you safe. The hammock acts as a prop to safely and mindfully guide you into advanced backbends without strain. In addition, the hammock helps support you so you can do the postures with the correct alignment. Here are just a few benefits of practicing with a hammock when building into advanced poses.
Lengthen Muscles and Expand Range of Motion.
In aerial yoga, the hammock is used as a prop to support the body and allow for deeper openings. Many AIReal Yoga™ postures utilize the support of the hammock to suspend or stabilize body weight. These postures can help to safely enhance the lengthening of muscles and opening of joints. As a result, shoulders, hip flexors, and quadriceps can open, safely preparing your body for backbends.
Safely Access Postures.
The AIReal Yoga practice incorporates deep backbends performed entirely in the hammock. For example: Wheel or Inverted Bow. Since the body weight is suspended, you can slowly and mindfully progress towards the full expression of postures. All without straining the body and risking injury to the back, neck, or spine. The hammock acts as a spotting device meeting you where you are at. Thus supporting you for safe entrance and exit into postures. In short, this allows you to do more advanced postures with the correct alignment. Even if you are not strong or flexible enough to do them on you your own.
Experience the Profound Physical and Emotional Benefits of Backbends.
There are many physical and emotional benefits we experience when practicing backbends. The hammock allows all ages, levels, and physical abilities to experience these profound benefits. All without the need for an extreme opening of the body. For many of us, doing advanced backbends takes years to achieve. For others, it is not even a physical option! The hammock removes this barrier, making backbends accessible for all levels.
10 Benefits of Backbends
Boost Energy and Invigorate the Whole Body
Build Strength and Power in the Arms, Shoulders, Back, Core, Hips, and Legs
Open the Heart & Chest
Stretch the Hip Flexors
Release Tension in the Shoulders and Hips
Build Core Strength in the Front and Back Body
Enhance Respiration to Breathe Better
Support the Digestive System
One of the most important benefits of backbends is learning to overcome fear. Backbends can be quite scary to many people. While it is important to go at your own pace and listen to fear. It can also be extremely potent to work through fears in a healthy way.
If you are considering integrating backbends into your practice the aerial hammock can be an amazing tool. Use it as the ultimate yoga prop that supports advanced backbends safely and correctly!