The backbender is one of the props we use in Critical Alignment Yoga. The backbender serves as a bridge, guiding you to a feeling of space and lightness, the way life is meant to be.
Critical Alignment Yoga exercises with the backbender can offer much needed relieve and support, certainly after long days on your computer, laptop, and smartphone. Over the years, movement patterns and habits can slowly lead to physical problems, especially when combined with not enough exercise. I admit: when I started working with the backbender, the first couple times were quite intense. But I knew right away that this was the way to more openness, space, and freedom. After completing the preparatory exercises on the roll or rubber strip, moving into the backbender posture is a step by step process. Coming out of the backbender posture confronts you with all the tension your body carries.
A lot of complaints in our necks and shoulders arise from the many forward bends we make in our day-to-day lives. “You could say that life is basically one huge forward bend,” my teacher Gert van Leeuwen once told me. These complaints are caused by curvatures and stiffness in the spine. The spine bends at a vertebral level, causing the weight of the head, which normally weighs 5-8 kg, to become two to three times as heavy due to the influence of gravity. You can probably guess what that does to the weight that the muscles in your neck and shoulder have to carry, and what that weight can do to your spine. It’s no wonder this will cause complaints in the long term, such as headaches, RSI / CANS-like complaints, and physical limitations in the shoulders and arms.
Many people are nervous when they have to do backward bends. We don’t have eyes in the back of our heads, and because of this, bending backward is actually a form of surrendering and vulnerability. Backward bends have an energetic effect. They open your heart area and literally provide more breathing space for your lungs. You also create space for your emotional life. This isn’t always easy, as not every feeling is a feeling you want to face. A lot of, often old, stored tensions in your body suddenly come to the surface. Feeling nauseated, but also headaches can be part of this experience. Many people take a weekly yoga class to relax, but are then confronted with their tensions instead. If you practice yoga, I encourage you to investigate this. A well-structured yoga class and proper guidance from the yoga teacher are a prerequisite when confronting the tensions in your body.
What benefits are there in the end? By regularly using the backbender, you work on a better body posture and remove unnecessary tensions. It’s, literally, getting rid of unnecessary ballast. The prevention or reduction of neck, shoulder, and back complaints. As your spine and back muscles regain their flexibility, the movements in your movement chain can be passed through to your arms and legs. You will regain your original strength. You will also experience more breathing space; freedom to be able to move lightly again. As our lives are actually meant to be. I have become much more flexible myself, and can now make movements I never thought possible!
You can! The exercises are easy to learn and (with a bit of practice) can also be done at home. Do you not live in or nearby Ommen? No problem: our Online Back Care Basics program offers a great alternative! Or join our free 6-day challenge “From Back Pain to Back Gain” first, and discover what yoga can do for you!
Of course, when you live in the neighbourhood or are visiting Ommen always feel welcome. You can also sign up for a trial class or a private class at Yoga Ommen.