Back bends are such an important part of our asana practice. Physically, they correct poor postural habits of rounding the shoulder and upper back forward. They create more space for the heart and lungs and help to maintain the suppleness of our spine through movement of the synovial fluid in our vertebral discs.
They build internal heat and give an energy boost (no need for the 2pm cup of coffee….try a back bend instead!)
Back bends are also the posture of courage. They teach us how to lift and open the heart. As they begin in the back body, we learn how to lift from the back of the heart; to lift from the strength of the upper back and the support of the breath.
Consider how we feel when we are met with disappointment or fear. Often we curl up and shrink inward, closing the space of the heart and collapsing the space in our spine. This posture elicits a sense of defeat or hopelessness.
Back bends restore the vigor of our spirit. They allow us to stand tall in our most challenging moments. And as we lift the heart, our light shines brighter and brighter from the open space. It does not necessarily mean we no longer experience fear, but rather we find courage to face our challenges one step at a time. To move forward without hesitation instead of being frozen with immobility.
To open the heart alone takes courage. But the heart is where we will find our strength. The heart is where we will find our fire, our determination and our wisdom.
And from this place, we can do wonderful things for ourselves and others.
It is how we keep hope alive and the grace of faith flowing.
And the heart, is where we find love. Love for ourselves and the reminder that love is the source behind the forces of goodness.
Let your practice be inspired by self love. Offering yourself compassion and loving thoughts as you arrive on your mat. Find fluidity in movement, creating suppleness to allow your love to flow effortlessly.