Ahh the backbend! You know when you think you understand something and then years later you realise after all of this time you’ve been doing it completely wrong? Well that was / is me and backbends. In my defence it’s not like I wasn’t listening to instruction or didn’t care about correct alignment I just think that it’s taken years to understand my body and how it moves. I am a backbender! I have a grand old backbend. Whether I am standing, sitting or inverting I have a backbend that is very difficult to control. In the early years of my practice I thought this was a great thing, ‘Look at how far I can go back!!’ It’s only since I’ve been inverting that I’ve realised how unsupported my backbends were. In fact, for me to learn handstands and forearm balance I actually stopped backbending completely (this was really hard for me to do both physically and mentally) but it’s been through this intentional action that I’ve discovered my true core and can now safely bend backwards.
So I actually like to call backbends abdominal exercises instead. This helps me shift my focus from my back, particularly my lower spine (lumbar) to my core and Mula and Uddiyana bandha. There are so many benefits to backbending and they are a wonderful addition to a yoga practice. Just remember you don’t need to be doing crazy poses to reap the rewards.