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—Backbend Yoga Theme 1: Willingness To Expand
Backbends can be quite daunting for yoga students because it requires of them a willingness to expand.
Most people get very comfortable with their inner and outer contractions (a.k.a problems and injuries). It’s almost a badge of honour to have something to moan about (especially my fellow Brits). However, when you get into a backbend, you very literally are being open to the gifts of the Universe. You immediately cease all unconscious moaning and complaining and lighten up. It’s as if you’re saying to the Universal Powers, “Yep, I’m ready to receive all the light and joy you have to offer.”
—Backbend Yoga Theme 2: Surrender & Happy Endorphins
The other esoteric-ness of “backbends” is that it’s a surrender. To open your back, to “back bend”, you have to open your chest to the world. You are quite literally exposing the most vulnerable part of your body, your heart, and allowing yourself to surrender and let go. You’re turning off your inner Fight Or Flight switch and flipping a new switch that turns on your inner Joy. Most newbie yoga students won’t remember the last time they allowed themselves the luxury of opening up. In many cases students will have been “closed down” (shoulders slumped, chest down) physically and therefore mentally for years. It’s absolutely impossible to “be open mentally” if your body language is closed down (shoulders slumped, chest down). The ancient yogis have known this little known secret for thousands of years. They understood that simply getting into a “backbend” for a few seconds immediately changes your entire body chemistry and releases happy endorphins. At a cellular level, when you practice a backbend, happiness molecules (endorphins) produced within the brain circulate in the blood, and send a signal to every cell that you’re happy. So, anytime you feel down or fatigued, practice a backbend and you’ll immediately flood your brain with endorphins, triggering a happy state of mind.
—Backbend Yoga Theme 3: Letting Go Of Perfection
During a backbend you are asked to be brave, giving up fear to more deeper in the pose. If you move into a backbend while trying hard to keep in control, your shoulders will tense and your chest closes. So, backbends are a great way for those addicted to “perfection” to let go and have fun.