Opening Up With Backbends

I can tell that it surprises my students to hear, "all poses are either backbends or folds, and some have a little of both." When we connect our practice to the energy centers of the body, the Chakras, we effect more than just stretching and strengthening certain muscles and joints. Furthermore, the spine and supporting muscles are designed to provide the following:  folds, backbends, sidebends, twists and extension. If we leave out practicing one of these movements, then the capacity of the other movements becomes diminished too. Furthermore, because we live in the era of technology, we spend much time looking down to a piece of tech equipment, and a slouched position becomes part of our habit for a significant part of each day.  This affects settling patterns, aging patterns, daily range of movement and comfort, ....AND the bodys "energy."  Backbends open up the Throat, Heart and Solar Plexus chakras.  They bring "heat" into the body, or "rev up"  and re-energize the body.  It is recommended that we include back bending poses as a focus in our winter-time practice to counter the more enhanced crouched positions of the body, the subconscious tightening response to the cold. Here is the best part - backbends are accessible to everyone.  If you are a beginner, and especially if you have a sensitive lower back or an injured body, seek the help of a qualified teacher, but recognize that to strengthen your back and body with backbends will help you tremendously:
     1.  The Throat chakra governs truth, and here is an opportunity to strengthen living your truth.
     2.  The Heart chakra is the seat of intuition and allows us to live without regret, to let negativity slide away, and to lead our lives with love, compassion, and positive emotion.  This is very powerful.
     3.  The Solar Plexus is our core strength, literally and figuratively.  Here we are reminded of our personal
          power and our capacity for growth and outreach, in essence, that our dreams are not beyond us. 
Include in your intentions to practice a back bending movement every day, to enhance the value of these energy systems in your body and their support of your daily life, not just the potential movement capacity of your spine.  Namaste.

Poses to practice:  Warrior I, Updog, and a backbend... in the chair
Essential Oils to use:  Frankincense, White Fir and Lemon