Over time, I've learned the importance of warming up before doing any back bends in yoga.
Warming up before a practice is essential because it allows for increased blood flow to the muscles and connective tissues. This will keep your body safe and prevent injuries. If you don't take the time to warm up, injuries can occur slowly and over longer periods of time.
Practice this routine before entering into your favorite advanced back bend asana. Strength, success and flexibility are only a few practices away and will come with diligence and consistency!
1. Cat-Cow Stretches (From Seated or Table-Top)
Often the cat-cow stretch is done from a table-top position. Sometimes I like to begin it from sitting upward on my knees. Do your best to keep space between the shoulders and ears while doing this seated cat-cow stretch. This will begin to warm up the spine.
Make sure to do counter-stretches in between each back-bend prep pose. For example, I generally like to do some type of forward fold after each back bend pose to help keep a balanced spine. Even a simple cat stretch (seated or from table-top position) or child's pose will do the trick.
2. Low Back Stretches From Table-Top
3. Back Stretches Using the Ball
4. Reclined Hero Pose
This one can be a bit challenging, so do only what you can and don't push it too far if you feel pain.
Start from a kneeling position and slowly sit back, pushing your calves and heels toward the outsides of your thighs. It's important to find a comfortable spot here, if this is too much, then just stay here.
I like to use a block to help "bring the floor closer" to my back. Try this first as a way of easing into the pose. Put the block toward the middle-part of your back and slowly begin to lay down. You will feel a nice stretch in your thighs. If there is pain on the knee, come out of it. This may not be the best pose for some people.
When beginning to lay back, I like to position my elbows toward the ground first, and then slowly creep my hands toward the heels before laying down all the way. Use the block if you need help filling the space between your back and the floor. Try not to arch the lower back too much, keep the core strong. Stay here for as long as feels good. To come out of it, use your elbows to help yourself up.
5. Bridge Pose
6. Camel Pose (or advanced back bend pose of choice)
Remember...practice is imperfect. Enjoy the journey.
Hello, I'm Julie.
One of the many things yoga taught me was empowerment...and I hope to share that with you here.
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