I am super excited about the second Nail It: Backbends workshop (Happening January 27 from 4-6pm at Aeriform Arts in North Hollywood - sign up here!). This go-round, we'll be focusing on opening the shoulders to go deeper into backbends without injury.Our first workshop focused on neutral pelvic alignment to support the root of the pose. This time, we are working on the blossom! Think of the two workshops together as a balance of sthira (stability) and sukha (freedom).
The low back is super bendy while the mid and upper back are tight (For a reason - they're protecting our heart, lungs and other important organs). By stabilizing the low back (Which isn't actually built to bend deep), allows more freedom in the mid/upper back for a deeper backbend.
Finding Stability: First stand how you normally do sideways by a mirror. Look in the mirror and notice if your low back is arched so the butt sticks out or curved so the butt is tucked under. Know that this tendency (no matter how slight) is probably where you're starting from as you move into your backbend. To go deeper, you want to start from a neutral pelvis and stabilized low back.
Finding Neutral: Stand with your feet parallel and lift your arches upward. You might feel a lifting of the quads and a toning of the belly, which may even allow for a softening and broadening of the shoulders.
Play with this and notice how it feels in your pelvis and low back. Once you find that stabilizing position, you can begin to lift the sternum toward your chin as the upper body begins to extend.
A final note to remember: Backbends require courage! This T.E.D. Talk by Brene Brown inspired our first workshop where she defines courage in an original and quite yogic way! Courage: To tell the story of who you are with your whole heart...be imperfect...be vulnerable.
Hope to see you at our second workshop!