Yoga is wonderful but it’s easy to get carried away with wanting to achieve a particular shape or push into depth, rather than what is the best fit for the body. There are a few things people often overlook when working on back and spinal flexibility but the most common in my experience is…
Bending the back.
Hear me out – when someone is trying to “bend back” this usually involves approaching the pose by tipping back and dumping the bend into the lower spine. It’s a really common thing – you’ll often see a backbend with a sharp angled pinch into the lower back. This is because the lumbar spine is REALLY flexible compared to the rest of the back, plus it already has a natural curve in the direction we are aiming for.
So what happens? People bend from here. The great majority of the bend being concentrated into a small section of the lower back – doing this alot can cause a whole host of #back problems and discomfort.
The upper back is like the opposite. It’s much less flexible and it curves the opposite way! But it’s your best friend when it comes to finding flexibility.
How so? Bringing a focus on spreading the bend into the upper back is not only going to be safer and feel better, but also benefit the body much more!
Give it a go yourself. Try something like Camel pose or a standing backbend start small then focusing on BREATHING INTO THE RIBS. Think of the spaces between each rib, fill your lungs with glorious breath and feel the front of the body and heart open up. In doing so we increase the length of the front line of the body, and the bend of the upper back. Give your butt a little brace and try to smooth out the backwards curve of the back a little.
It’s something I am still working on myself and like everything, it takes us time. But knowing a trick or two definitely helps the journey.
TLDR “Breathe into your ribs, to bend the upper back” ☺️
Empower your practice by understanding your body.