Backbends make me feel like a teen and not in a good way. Mark Twain once said, "Ignorance, intolerance, egotism, self-assertion, opaque perception, dense and pitiful chuckle headedness -- and an almost pathetic unconsciousness of it all, that is what I was at 19 and 20."
Some kinder words come to mind when I think of teens: adventurous, progressive, in the moment, honest! But as a teen, I, too, was pretty impulsive and paid no regard to the consequences of my actions. Now, as a 31 year-old, I’ve realized that back-bends bring out many undesirable qualities of my teenage self. OMG I totally mean it! Shut-up!
While I try to approach the whole yoga class in a calm, grounded, peaceful way, when it comes to back-bends, my inclination is to go deeper and bend farther and stop listening to my body altogether. I sacrifice alignment, groundedness, and breath for the thrill of a hardcore backbend. As a result of this reckless behavior (my mom’s fave phrase!), I suffer the consequences in the form of lower back pain and soreness in my neck instead of feeling the freeing, cleansing, and heart-opening benefits.
Read on for five pointers that have helped me approach a back-bend like a responsible adult (!) with more satya (truth) and ahimsa (non-violence).
Here’s an acronym to help: B(reathe) A(bdominals) N(eck) G(lutes) S(houlders)