Updated: Feb 26, 2019
Backbends are invigorating and strengthening. They stretch the hip flexors and help open up the shoulders and chest, an area where lots of us hold tension. They build strength and power in the legs, arms and back muscles. By increasing mobility and awareness of the spine backbends improve posture and can help to alleviate some kinds of back and neck pain.
Psychological / energetic benefits
Our body’s natural response to danger is to curl in, protecting our most vulnerable part - our heart, both the physical heart and the energetic heart space. 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.
As backbends open the chest and upper body they stimulate the Heart chakra (Anahata) allowing us to open more fully in our lives too; to our emotions, experiences and in our relationships.
Strong backbends can sometimes release stored emotions: frustration, fear, anger, sadness as well as joy and love, so it’s not unusual to feel some of this again as it works through your body