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Our body’s natural response to danger is to curl in, protecting our most vulnerable organs. Backbends do the very opposite action opening us up to the world. We are exposing ourselves and that takes courage  - but also builds more of it! Overcoming our fears on the mat can give us courage off the mat too.


Backbends are energising and strengthening. With back bends we work and open the front body - Superficial Front Line & Deep Front Lines of myofascia, (Tension anywhere along this line can cause restrictions in other areas along the line), as well as compressing and strengthening the reverse - Superficial Back Line

Backbends can be broadly divided into these categories : 

- CONTRACTION BACKBENDS where the back muscles contract to over come gravity (Locust Pose)

- TRACTION BACKBENDS muscles in the front body contract to overcome gravity (Camel Pose)

- LEVERAGE BACKBENDS the arms and legs press against an unmovable object (floor, wall or other part of body) to stretch the front of the body. (Bow Pose)


Within each of these categories, the arms, humerus, may be in extension/flexion. Both require different areas of engagement or release through the shoulder girdle : Extension of the arms requires the scapula to be stabilised by the rhomboids, lower traps and serratus anterior while the pecs must release. Flexion requires the rhomboids, lats, pecs and triceps to release.


* As we work through each posture, remember the intricate and infinite layers of integration involved. There's no 'right way'. Here we are playing with how asanas relate to one another, how they work together to open the body, and how they build upon one another to further open and balance our bodies.