backward bends 

backward bends increase your vitality and energy levels!

Tips for good backward bends:
• Warming-up of hips and spine are necessary.


• Respect your limits, if you are too hasty and go too far you bend to much through the lumbar part of your (lower) back, this can create damage; that’s why you best keep your gluteus tensed.


• Use counter positions after the back bend poses to relax the muscles in the back; ex. lie down on your back (supine) and bring your knees to the chest then rock gently from side to side.


• Always keep the right posture: gluteus and abdomen are activated, move yourself to the back by bringing your chest (heart center)  upward, towards the sky, lengthen yourself through the neck keeping it aligned with the spine.

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Muktasana: standing backward bend

1. From tadasana, step with your left foot, bring it behind you and open it not more than 30° for balance. Your hips remain towards the front, activate your gluteus
Bend the right knee so that it is above your ankle. You can feel tension in your left calf. Adjust if necessary your leg. Make your base of the lower body strong.

2. Breathe in and with a gracious circle around you bring your arms upward above your head stretch the arms and interlace your thumbs. Breathe out and relax the shoulders and bend the elbows. Breathe in and raise your chest, or heart towards the sky, bringing the spine in a light curve, mostly the upper part of the spine. Breathe normally , stay here for 20 sec to 3 minutes and keep on opening the chest and shoulders whilst you keep your buttocks active. Your neck is aligned with your spine and reaching up, eyes look upward,  don’t close the cervical vertebras by raising the chin.

Exit:
Breathe in and straighten the right leg, lengthen the spine vertically with arms reaching for the sky. Breathe out and bring the arms back with a nice circle.
Then step with you left foot forward next to your right foot.
Close your eyes for a moment and feel the energy in your body
Switch sides.


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Salabhasana: locust pose (backward bend)
Lie down on your belly (prone). Your arms are next to the sides of your body and your forehead is against the floor. Press your pubis against the floor, to do this with comfort you can put a blanket under your belly, breathe in and raise your arms , legs and torso from the floor bending backwards, use the muscles of your legs, arms, torso and back to do this. Your neck is in alignment with your spine, don’t close the cervical vertebras.
Breathe normally , stay here for 30 sec to 3 minutes.

Exit:
Breathe in and lengthen, stretch your body , breathe out and relax in the prone pose
Variations :
- 1. You can have your arms alongside your body, like described above
- 2. You can open your arms at shoulder height, like an airplane
- 3. You can bring your arms in front of you and raise them, like Superman.


Dhanurasana:  bow pose (backward bend)
Lie down on your belly in prone position your forehead is against the floor. Bend your knees and have them hip width apart, grip with your hands your ankles from the outside. Press your pubis against the floor, to do this with comfort you can put a blanket under your belly, breathe in and bring your upper legs backward doing this your torso will raise from the floor. In this position forming a bow you keep on pushing your pubis on the floor, bring your shoulders downward and keep your knees hip width apart. Bring your chin towards your chest. Breathe normally , stay here for 30 sec to 3 minutes.

Exit:
Breathe in, lengthen the spine then breathe out  let loose of your ankles, bring the legs and torso down on the floor. Stay in the prone position and relax for a few moments.


cobra

sphinx

Bhujangasana:  cobra pose (backward bend)
Lie down on your belly in prone position your forehead is against the floor your feet are hip width apart. Put your hands next to your chest on the floor, palms touching the floor. Elbows tucked in a bit. During the whole position keep your legs lengthened and activated.
Breathe in; bring your torso upwards in 3 phases: first use your throat muscles to come upward with your head, second use your upper back muscles to come up with your back and third use your pubis press it into the floor (with blanket underneath you) activating your lower back muscles . Breathe out now your upper body is upward,  your belly button remains on the floor.
Use your hands and arms for stability but don’t push them in the floor. Your shoulders go downward, away from the ears and you look slightly upward.
Breathe normally , stay here for 30 sec to 3 minutes.
Exit:
Breathe in, lengthen the spine, breathe out, bring your body back in prone position and relax for a few moments.
Variation:
The sphinx pose:
Same as above only the initial position of hands are different.
Lie down on your belly in prone position your forehead is against the floor your feet are hip width apart. Put your hands next to your eyes on the floor, palms touching the floor. Elbows are tucked in a bit. During the whole position keep your legs lengthened and activated.
Breathe in,  come upward and keep your elbows and forearm on the floor.
Breathe normally , stay here for 20 sec to 2 minutes.
Exit:
Breathe in, lengthen the spine, breathe out, bring your body back in prone position and relax for a few moments.

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