|Category:||Yoga Lesson Planner|
|Types:||Back Bend, Balance, Chest Opener, Hip Opener, Standing, Stretch|
|Anatomy:||Core, Hamstrings, Hips, Lower Back, Middle Back, Neck, Psoas, Upper Back|
|Chakras:||Base, Crown Centre, Heart Centre, Solar Plexus Centre, Third Eye, Throat Centre|
|Therapy:||Back Pain, Confidence Building, Poor Posture|
Partner A and B stand in Mountain Pose with backs together. Interlock arms. Partner A brings B onto their back while going into a Forward Bend. Come back to starting position. Partner B does same for Partner A.
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Let your students become aware of the amazing benefits of backends.
10 Benefits Of Backbends
1. Posture Perfect
If you work a job where you are sitting most of the time, it is likely that your posture is hunched (unless you are aware of your posture and correct it). People also hunch when they are looking at their cell phone – next time you go out, watch someone as they text or play on their phone. Their shoulders will often be hunched, and their neck protruded forward. Backbends help counteract the damage of bad posture by bending the spine in a direction it isn’t used to. They help to realign our vertebrae while at the same time stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. They open the chest, lengthen the spine, and strengthen the upper back, all of which make our posture more straight.
2. Shoulder Opener
Backbends are great for helping open shoulders – an area where most of us hold tension. Most people have shoulders that are rolled in, and a head that is cranked forward – this makes our breathing shallow and lungs compressed, making us feel less than optimal. Practicing backbends will crack open this area, and subconsciously encourage rolled back shoulders.
3. Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexors are the muscles that allow us to lift our knees and bend at the waist. They’re found deep in the abdominal cavity, and cause pain for many individuals (especially if you are a runner or bicyclist). The pain is often felt in the upper groin region where the thigh meets the pelvis. Backbends are great hip flexor openers, as they extend the hips and give these muscles a chance to stretch. Be careful, however, as tight hip flexors can make backbends a little difficult, and may require other hip-opening exercises beforehand to get the really deep hip stretch that backbends will give.
4. Brain Health
Chronic back pain, which can be restored through backbends, has been linked to the lowering of grey matter in the brain. Take your brain to the spa with a backbend.
5. Back Strengthener
You can easily gain spinal strength with the help of backbends. I’ve been practicing for almost two years and I’ve noticed a huge difference in how much stronger my back is. Backbends require lifting the body against the force of gravity, which helps build strength. Cobra pose, Camel pose, King Pigeon pose, Upward-Facing Dog Pose, and Bridge pose are all backbends and fab spine-strengtheners.
6. Back Pain Buster
If your back hurts practice gentle backbends. Our back is often in a state of chronic pain because we spend so much time bending forward, and not backward. When we start practicing backbends, we counteract the impact of continuous forward bending and ease stress on parts of the spine that are often stuck in the chronic forward-position. This will also help you stand straighter, which again, is another reason so many people experience back pain.
7. Heart Chakra Awakener
Backbending opens up the chest (heart space), which is connected to our sense of wellbeing and connection with others. Many people often get emotional when they do a deep backbend (like Cobra pose, Camel pose, King Pigeon pose, Upward-Facing Dog Pose, or Bridge pose). Whether you’re flexible or not, when first learning how to bend your back, you may experience a tsunami of different emotions. One of the deepest lessons in the yoga practice is about bringing the energy up the spine and cleansing the nervous system. Backbends thrust your full life force up through this central channel and burn through blockages along the way. When one of these blockages gets triggered it really does not matter whether you are doing a deep backbend or a beginner backbend, because the emotional state that gets triggered is really of paramount importance. Don’t run away when things get tough and emotional – backbends are an amazing thing you can do for your body and will make you a stronger individual both mentally and physically. Remember to breathe through it.
8. Breath Mastery
Backbends help open the shoulders and chest, getting rid of the tension that cramps our lungs and makes breathing shallow and un-easy. Once our chest starts to open, there is more space created for our lungs, allowing for deeper breathing and thus more oxygen flow through the body (this translates to better mental and cardiovascular function).
9. Energy Elixir
Backbending is a great way to give yourself a boost of energy. If you’ve ever done a backbend, then you’ve felt that rush of energy that invigorates the whole body. Your breath feels deeper and your sense of awareness sharpens. Backbending helps stimulate all chakras in the body and clears energetic blocks that make way for a huge boost of energy – not only that, but they increase our breathing ability, and breathing is key to truly embrace the life force that makes us feel alive.
10. Fear Blocker
Many people are fearful of backbends, especially deep ones like King Pigeon pose, Upward-Facing Dog Pose, and Bridge pose that makes us move outside of our comfort zone. However, once you step out of that zone, you’ll really start to notice the change. Facing our fears and coming face-to-face against our physical edge teaches us to develop patience – especially with back bending when we are forced to form a deep trust with ourselves.
Partner Yoga FAQs
Partner yoga brings people together through movement, play, breath, and touch.
Below are some questions that you might get from students when teaching partner yoga poses…
Does partner yoga cultivate emotional support in friendships?
Yes. Both partners need to rely on each other, which is ideal for cultivating emotional support. Partner poses require balance and focus. They also enhance communication and openness which also cultivates emotional support.
Does partner yoga teach the art of giving and receiving?
Yes. Partner yoga doesn’t just build muscle. It’s also character building.
It’s impossible to do a partner yoga pose and not be learning the fine art of “giving and receiving”. Partners get the opportunity to take the weight of the partner and then give their weight (giving and receiving) to increase the physical benefits of the pose. So, with no words spoken, one of the most important life skills is being cultivated in a partner pose.
Does partner yoga give yourself permission to let go and have fun?
Yes. Partner yoga is just like laughter yoga. Students absolutely love it.
Some shy students might be a bit hesitant, to begin with, but even they quickly enjoy it. Why? Because it’s fun. It’s silly. You fall over. You’re free to make mistakes (fall over and start again). It’s imperative for a healthy life to allow the fun in, by letting go of mistakes. Partner Yoga teaches students to give new things a go, without expecting or needing to be good at them.
What can the power of touch teach?
In partner yoga, you are touched by another human. Touch helps to increase our compassion for others because subconsciously we realize that we are all the same. This “we are the same” message is similar to The Merchant of Venice scene when Shylock says: “Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?”
How important is balance as a life skill?
There will be times in life when chaos will reign and you’ll feel out of balance.
That’s when all the time spent practicing balance poses (e.g. partner yoga poses) comes to your aid. Being physically balanced has the effect of turning the stress, anxiety, and overwhelm into a state of focused calm. The emotional balance of giving and receiving in a partner pose also helps turn stress, anxiety, and overwhelm into a state of focused calm.
Do partner poses deepen the stretch for muscles and ligaments?
Yes. Partner yoga poses help to deepen the stretch for tight muscles and ligaments, without any pain. One partner’s body weight is used to increase the pressure of the other partner’s stretch.
Can partner yoga help take my practice to the next level?
Yes. When you have a partner, you’re able to take stretches and core strength workouts up a notch. For example, in Boat Pose With Partner, you both get to deepen the stretch in the backs of your legs and improve your balance.
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