So often, throughout our day, we hunch.
We hunch over a keyboard, a steering wheel, a stove, piles of paper, projects we are creating, and the loads of laundry we fold at home. Some of my favorite yoga poses are backbends. Why? Because they counteract all the forward hunching that we unknowingly and habitually do during most of our day-to-day activities. We also hunch when we are feeling down with the blues and feeling tired. When we backbend, we also counteract those feelings of fatigue and emotional sadness.
Do you want to open your chest and back without a struggle? Do you want to improve the health of your spine? Do you want more energy and vitality? Then your yoga prescription very well may be backbends.
Not all backbends require your foot to touch your head, or maneuvering your body in a manner similar to a Cirque-du-soleil act. In fact, Supportive Bridge Pose is one of my favorite backbending poses that is accessible to all bodies, all levels, and all ages.
Opens the spine and chest. Opens the top front of the thighs, and hip flexors.Generates a sense of inner calmness.
Getting into the pose:
Lie down on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet behind your hips. Press your feet down and lift your hips up to a comfortable level. Place a block horizontally, directly underneath your sacrum.
Tricks with the block placement:
Remember, 1/4 of an inch makes a difference. Move the block slightly to find it's comfortable position under your tailbone area.
Use either the middle or the highest height of the block. This depends on how open you feel in your spine and the fronts of your thighs. Experiment with which height feels best.
Inhale to expand your middle and upper chest.
Exhale to release your weight down onto the block.
If the edge of the block hurts against your body, consider moving the block slightly, or place a blanket on top of the block.
Recommended hold time:
Two to three minutes.
Coming out of this pose:
Press your feet into the mat. Lift your hips off the block, and remove the block with your hands. Relax onto your back, and cave your knees into touch each other. Rest here for one minute before getting up or going to the next pose.