Heart Openers or Backbends
Social media sites are filled with advanced yogis performing extreme backbends where it seems as if their spine is a spaghetti noddle. Back bends tend to elicit two responses: fear of the unknown, which causes retreat or an obsession towards going deeper and finding that Instagram worthy shot. Backbends or heart openers, as they are also known, must be approached with intention and correct alignment.
Do not be afraid to slow it down and use props. You are always welcomed to stay longer in a pose and breathe through the sensations that it brings. With heart openers this can be even more useful since it takes a significant amount of determination for the chest and heart area to release and find space.
When I first began, a baby cobra pose was enough for me to feel like my chest would rip open. Give yourself time to find that wheel pose that you might aiming for. Backbends also provide a release of adrenaline so they are a great way to boost energy.
Some poses come easier than others but for the majority of yogis and yoginis, the mere mention of an inversion brings forth nervous side-glances and fear. Even if you haven’t been able to fully stand on your hands, you’ve been practicing inversions in small doses. Downward facing dog is an inversion, as is any posture where your heart is below your waist.
There are many reasons why those fun and advanced poses are added towards the end of a sequence. If you’ve been practicing for 40 minutes, you’ve built heat, strength and the confidence to turn your world upside down and see things from a different perspective.
Push past your comfort zone here. And do not hesitate to use props such as an empty wall or blankets for cushion in case you fear falling. If you do fall? Laugh it off, the human body is silly and having control at all times does not allow room for growth.
At the Yoga Loft, we provide a variety of intimate yoga retreats in the Dominican Republic. Our yoga teachers are eager to help you explore and deepen your yoga practice.
If you find yourself in need of a space to connect with your body and mind, the best option might be to get away from any and all distractions.