Backbends are a challenging element of yoga. They require us to do the opposite of what feels comfortable and “normal” — at least at first. As we grow in our practice we experience the positive effects of backbends and build mental and physical flexibility.
Relieve anxiety and stress
One of the most notable benefits of backbends is relief of anxiety and stress. As I mentioned earlier, a daily backbend routine can do wonders to eliminate chronic anxiety that racks our bodies and minds. By opening up the front of your body, you release and break through stress. To do so takes mental determination, discipline and dedication.
Approach each backbend with a can-do attitude and tell yourself you will stay in the posture and breathe. Breathing is one of the most important elements to a properly executed backbend. If you’re experiencing chronic anxiety, increase the number of days you practice yoga each week. I’ve found that a more consistent practice keeps anxiety in check.
Opens your mind and heart to new possibilities
By releasing and countering some of the tension on the backs of our spines (think shoulders and lower back) we can open up the front of our bodies to new people and experiences. Increasingly, flexibility in the body mirrors itself in our minds.
Relieves insomnia and restlessness
If your mind is racing when you lay in bed, get out and do camel pose. Just a minute in this posture will help release the mental chatter and tension in your body. I’ve done this several times and it’s amazing how fast it works. Make sure to breathe while doing the posture and do a few sets if you need to. It’s so simple, and so effective.
Questions about backbends? Ask in the comments!