A backbend, as performed by gymnasts, or Urdhva Dhanurasana, as practiced by yogis, is an effective pose to strengthen the backside of your body and stretch the front. Backbends also stimulate your thyroid and pituitary, promoting the health and proper function of these glands. Furthermore, this pose increases your heart rate, improves blood circulation and raises energy levels. Generally speaking, getting into the pose is fairly easy. However, standing up from a backbend does not come as naturally. By practicing these steps every day, your body will learn what muscles to engage in order to complete a backbend recovery.
Things You'll Need
- Yoga mat
- Incline mat
Place your mat perpendicular to the wall. Go up into your backbend, or Urdhva Dhanurasana, with your face facing the wall.
Use your hands to walk up the wall all the way to a standing position. Repeat at least three times.
Repeat Step 2, but stop halfway up. Use your quadriceps and abdominals to lift you up to standing. Repeat at least three times.
Place the chair against the wall and perform your backbend with your face toward the wall and your hands on the seat of the chair. Use your legs and abs to lift you to a standing position. Repeat at least three times.
Set up your backbend on an inclined mat with your feet downhill. Bring all of your weight into your feet by deeply bending your knees. Use your quadriceps and abdominals to lift you to a standing position. If you get your hands off the floor but cannot stand upright, repeat this step until you can bring yourself to a standing position. Then repeat until you make it to a standing position at least 100 times.
Go back to your mat and move it away from the wall. Set up your backbend and bring all of your weight into your legs by bending your knees deeper than on the incline. Rock ever so slightly, shifting more and more weight onto your feet.
Contract your quadriceps and abdominals until you can lift your hands off the floor. Repeat until you can lift yourself into a standing position.
Tips & Warnings
- Make sure to heat your muscles before you commence these steps with an infrared heating pad or by warming up for at least 15 minutes. Do at least three backbends for at least six long deep breaths before moving into backbend recoveries. Also, if you do not have access to an inclined mat, find a safe hill and use it as an inclined mat.
- There is a tendency to splay the knees and toes out in backbends and, therefore, during backbend recoveries. This compresses the lower back and sacral area and, over time, can shorten the piriformis muscle that lies over the sciatic nerve, which can manifest sciatica symptoms. To prevent this from happening, turn your toes in, so they are slightly pigeon toed, and aggressively contact your inner thighs.
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