Backbends are energizing and exhilarating. Whether your bend is barely noticeable or so extreme your feet touch the top of your head, the benefits of a back bending practice are far reaching. Here are a few tips to help you deepen your practice of this important category of poses:
Slow down. Many of us go too far, too fast in our yoga practice. We prefer to accelerate through the learning, sensing, feeling process and skip straight to the doing process. If you're having difficulty in a backbend, minimize the size of your backbend until it feels evenly distributed and healthy. Remember, you're searching for an even, graceful arc, not a visual spectacle. Besides, it's better to injure your ego than your body.
Repeat regularly. The only way to learn a new pattern in the body and mind is to practice it consistently. Do backbends that feel appropriate to you as often as possible. Incorporate them into your yoga routine and daily life. You can do small backbends—like clasping your hands behind your back, lifting your chest, and simply stretching—while sitting in your chair at work, waiting for the train, or standing in line at the grocery store.