A lot of people have problems bending backwards. Were we can isolate muscles in our forward bends we can’t during our backbends. The muscles between our ribs, our chest muscles, our abdominal muscles and the muscles of our hips are all stretched at the same time. No wonder it’s so hard to bend backwards. An easy pose to start your backbend practice with is Sphinx Pose – salamba bhujangasana. In this pose you have a lot of support from your underarms; helping you gently in the pose.
Getting into Sphinx Pose – salamba bhujangasana
- Lay down on the floor, with you face down. Stretch your legs, with your toes flat on the floor and your legs together. Lengthen your legs as much as possible.
- Rotate your thighs inwards by rolling your outer thighs toward the floor. This helps broaden and lengthen your lower back and sacrum; protecting your lower back in your backbend.
- Place your elbows under your shoulders, with your forearms on the floor parallel to each other.
- Inhale and lift your upper torso and head up into a mild backbend. Think of lifting your ribs toward the ceiling. This stretches the muscles that connect the ribs, primarily the internal intercostals.
- Focus your breath on your lower back and abdominal area.
Benefits of Sphinx Pose – salamba bhujangasana
- Strengthens the spine
- Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders and abdomen
- Stimulates abdominal organs
- Helps relieve stress
Source: Iyengar – Light on Yoga / Key muscles of Yoga – Ray Long / Ashtanga – David Swenson / Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha – Swami Satyananda Saraswati