Half Moon Tips

It’s backbend time…. Most importantly, do not fear the backbend!
With so much of life spent bending forward, our spines are screaming out for a backbend. Happy Spine, happy life, so lets make our spines happy and give them what they are asking for: a beautiful backbend.
Again, as with all postures in the Bikram Yoga series, it is form over depth.  It is not about how deep you go, but about going to your personal edge, with the correct alignment, to make the magic happen.
So, you have just rocked out an awesome Side Half Moon,
 and you have returned to your central position.

Standing with your feet together, weight in your heels, legs and buttocks engaged, arms still stretched up over your head, fingers interlocked, with index fingers released. Your arms and shoulders may feel a little tired at this point, but do not drop them. Keep them up (we do not mean hunched shoulders). It is with this persistence that we build our strength. You can do it!

The legs are the foundation of the backbend. So let’s make sure both feet are firmly grounded. Engage the inner thighs and squeeze your glutes. Pelvis in a neutral position, meaning tucking the tail bone slightly. This should happen naturally, when you engage your buttocks.  Engage your core; this can be done by engaging the pelvic floor muscles and simultaneously pulling in your belly button.
Inhale, lift your torso up. Relax your neck allowing your head to gently drop back, lift you heart up to the ceiling and slowly reach your arms back, keeping your arms straight and palms squeezed together.  Keep breathing in and out though your nose, look back, keep reaching your arms back, pushing your hips gently forward, weight in the heels. NEVER CRUNCH INTO THE LOWER BACK. Always lift your sternum up, as you move back.  Where your arms and eyes go,

your body will follow.

Relax.

Yup! we mean it. The more relaxed you are about backbends, the easier you will find them.

Breathe, push the hips further forward and arc your self further back. As you will hear your teachers say: “Arms back, look back, fall back (although don’t actually fall please!!!), way back, go back, more back”.

Remember: we come in all different shapes, sizes and flexibilities. Our spines are all as individual as we are, do not compare yourself to others. Do what you can and do it to the best of your ability and you will notice the benefits.

Inhale and slowly come up back up to your centre position, keeping your arms straight over your head, elbows locked, palms squeezed tightly together.  Ready for Pada-Hastasana, Hands to Feet Pose. bikrammarch2016_160

HalfMoon Backbend

Benefits:

Back bends bring huge benefits both physically and emotionally. Think about all the time that we spend bending forwards, sitting at a desk, hunching over a computer, looking at our phones, reaching down to pick things up. Our spines were designed to bend backwards as well as forwards, but we do not utilise this natural range of motion in day to day life. Back bending is precisely what is needed to counteract the impact of continuous forward bending.

Back bending can help to alleviate back pain, by easing stress on parts of the spine that are often stuck in a chronic forward bending position. They can improve your posture, counteracting the hunching that you get from spending long periods of time bending forwards by opening up the chest and the shoulders. This can also improve your breathing, because there is more space for your lungs.
Letting go of fear in our backbends can also have a huge impact on our emotional well being. We can let go of tension stored in the front side of the body and that can make us feel emotionally lighter, more fearless, more confident in our day to day lives.
We stimulate the heart chakra when bending backwards, so we can feel more loving to ourselves and others. Backbends make you happy!
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