Backbend workshop notes

Bodywise 23rd July 2006

Backbend

Hold the above principles in a safe place in your consciousness. They are the basis of your journey towards the full expression of bending your spine, mind and unleashing your emotions with freedom and control.

Fear of opening the heart is one of the obstacles encountered in backbend asana practice. It is understandable, as all that we think and do is absorbed and has impact on the spine. The practice of backbends opens up the heart chakra and releases those emotions. We are exposed! Mr. Ego, who doesn’t like being over powered, tries to protect us in the form of fear.

Preparation:

Warm up the spine. Open the hips, especially the front groin, and shoulders. When you investigate your individual needs during preparing for backbends, you will soon feel where they lie, and that awareness will enable you to work with and release them. We all have different blockages (stiff bits). Simply be aware and sensitively work a little deeper in those areas. They can (often) be emotional blockages, where the mind protects the body from going. Force will never take us there, but kind persuasion through intelligent understanding will release the flow of pranic energy, the magic substance of practice!

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali teach us that Asana (translatable as Seat) should be a comfortable and quiet place to be.

When ever I think of backbends I think of beauty. Performing them makes me feel elegant, light and clear-minded. There is a euphoric sense of liberation in releasing the heart, and I always feel deep satisfaction at being alive and a part with nature. By acknowledging our fundamental connection to nature the ego no longer has such power. After all we are only a tiny part in a vast cosmos. When we let go, so does the spine, and then universal Prana can flow through us.

….what is beauty? This is one of the most fundamental questions, it is not superficial, so don’t brush it aside. To understand what beauty is, to have that sense of goodness which comes when the mind and heart are in communion with something lovely without any hindrance so that one feels completely at ease - surely, this has great significance in life; and until we know this response to beauty our lives will be very shallow. One may be surrounded by great beauty, by mountains and fields and rivers, but unless one is alive to it all one might just as well be dead.
All the Marvelous Earth. J Krishnanurti

Practice

Back Bends “Asana penetrate deep into each layer of the body and ultimately into the consciousness itself” BKS Iyengar

Breath and shoulder opening on ropes

Opening hips on chair

Viparita Dandasana over chair (soothes the brain, builds emotional stability, stimulates adrenal thyroid pituitary and pineal glands, massages heart, strengthens arteries, increases lung capacity, makes spine flexible, alleviates lower back pain, helps treat symptoms in menopause, relieves menstrual pain, corrects a displaced bladder or prolapsed uterus, relives indigestion

Hanamanasana against wall

Adhomukha Vrksasana

Vinyasa

Sirsasana towards Vrschikasana using slopes

Urdhva Dhanurasana

On slopes in 3’s (prevents arteries of the heart from thickening, ensures healthy blood circulation throughout the entire body, tones the spine, strengthens abdominal and pelvic organs, stimulates pituitary pineal and thyroid glands, prevents prolapsed uterus, helps period pains and reduces heavy blood flow

Coming up to Tadasana Awareness on foot weight and ankle= Pada Bandha

Back Releases

SAVASANA