I often refer to back bends as Heart Openers for a couple of reasons. The physical act of bending backwards requires the body to open the chest and heart in order for the spine to flex in that direction. Most people envision a back bend as the thing gymnasts and kids can do on their hands and feet. In fact, there is a huge range of back bends that are incorporated into Yoga Therapy sessions. One of my favorite stretches involves lying on your back on your bed and simply hanging your head off the bed. This particular posture (asana) is a gentle back bend that is very passive. Passive stretches are great because they invite the body into opening and they utilize gravity to assist in the posture. Most people can benefit from incorporating backbends into their daily lives because there is a great deal of time spent driving, computing, and doing other activities that constrict the pectorals and other muscles of the chest. Check in with your posture and see if you sit with your head forward, your shoulders are rounded and your chest is collapsed. These are physical cues that Heart Openers are needed. Energetically if your heart is closed you may notice shortness of breath, shallow breathing, asthma, and other lung conditions. Yoga Therapy that incorporates back bends can be the first step in healing this energy center.
Created:November 26, 2012