How important are backbends...? 21 October 2016
How important are backbends? Firstly, think about how our bodies naturally move. Most of the time we are walking, sitting, and standing. It is very important to stretch out the front of our bodies - so that means opening our chest and looking after our hip flexors (two areas that really suffer with all the sitting we do). However we don't need extreme backbends to achieve this.
Rewind a little to when I thought 'the bendier the better'. Judging by the amount of physio appointments I had - the answer is a hard no. My shoulders reached a range of motion where they were no longer supported and my flexibility : stability ratio was very out of whack.
This pose stretches out the entire front side of the body. Ankles, thighs, hip flexors, abs, chest, shoulders. So it most certainly has some great benefits - but we don't need to be bending over backwards to target these areas. We can KEEP IT SIMPLE and achieve the same results. PS. This photo was from around 2 years ago during the 'bendier is better' stage ;).
With so many beautiful images of yoga postures flooding the internet it's easy to get carried away or think that contortion style poses = enlightenment. Maybe not that extreme, but I see so many comment's on social media of people punishing themselves for not achieving the perfect pretzel pose.
Don't practice yoga to get better at yoga, practice yoga to get better at life.
It's important to continually challenge ourselves so we can practice paying attention and improve our body awareness - but just check in and make sure:
1. it isn't hurting you and
2. it's something your body is benefiting from
A downward dog (first image) and some very basic stretches can make the world of difference to your body.
REMEMBER why you are doing it.
Why do I stretch?
I flow through Get Bendy to live a pain free life and keep anxiety and stress to an absolute minimum. If my legs need some extra love, I'll incorporate Get Split and if I really need to shake things up, have some fun and focus my attention I'll play around with arm balances and inversions from Get Inverted.
Have a think of the exercise you do and whether or not it is serving you. If you don't enjoy it or it's running your body into the ground - perhaps mix it up and try new things.