A little while ago I posted on yoga for anxiety which involves nourishing, forward bends. This post is somewhat opposite.
Each of our bodies call for different things at different times and the practice of yoga strengthens our awareness of our needs. Rather than going from day to day, carrying out tasks and never checking in, we can actually store up tools that we can use when we want to feel (or not feel) a certain way.
Back bends are the most invigorating poses and I adore them!!! Seriously, they have so much power. When we are feeling down, depressed, stagnant, heavy, stuck or perhaps without motivation for life, a back bend will serve us well. Poses which bend us back, in turn, open our hearts and this physical movement has a powerful correlation to our mental state.
Recently, towards the end of my 800hr yoga teacher training, we did an advanced back bending workshop which meant a good hour or two or opening our heart, afterward I felt SO filled with love for everyone around me and truly felt invincible for at least the rest of the day.
When I say back bends, you certainly do not have to glide back into urdhva dhanurasana (full wheel). It can be any slight back bend, perhaps bhujanghasana (cobra pose) or virabhadrasana 1 (warrior 1 pose); or maybe you’d like to take a restorative back bend: I love laying my spine back on a bolster and opening my arms out to the side or overhead, ahhhhh, delicious. I want to mention that even simply opening the armpits has an amazing anti-depressant effect – try it now!
So next time you’re feeling down, try taking a back bend, or even, waving your arms in the air like you just don’t care… And maybe your mind will follow along in the party.
I am, of course, having a little giggle here but in all honestly, at times of real struggle and darkness, back bends have really helped me and I hope they can do the same for you. Lots of love.