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Back Bending Tips with World Yoga Champion Kasper van den Wijngaard
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World Yoga Champion Kasper van den Wijngaard shares his back bending tips.
“I love backward bending. As with any yoga posture, it is essential to learn the right technique… to not hurt your spine but to make it healthier. When the technique is right, it feels good! My best advice: get a teacher who can teach you the right technique, and practice, practice, practice. The better you get at backward bending, the more your spine opens up, the easier it gets to go from (deep) forward bending to (deep) backward bending, or from (deep) backward bending to (deep) forward bending. In the beginning you have to be (more) cautious. After a series of backward bends, do gentle spine twists, release the spine with some traction before you forward bend.
Easiest part of the spine to bend backwards for most people is the lower back, and that’s also why it is the part of the spine that takes most of the abuse with incorrect form.
There are many different backbends but in general you have to bend from top to bottom, upper, middle, lower spine. Ideally you get the shape of a circle, no jagged edges. If your spine is open, yes, you can bend the whole spine — ‘whooosh’ — in a matter of seconds. However, in the process of opening up the spine, don’t be in a hurry to go as deep as possible. Take your time to find the right chain of muscles to contract to open the spine vertebra by vertebra.
Inhale to lift the chest, exhale as you go backwards. Never let the hips roll out to avoid jamming or compressing the lower spine. With standing or kneeling backward bends it has everything to do with the feet and knees. Remember, the goal is not to touch the floor, to grab the heels etc…but to bend the spine. If you can remember that in your excitement, then you will get there.” – Back Bending Tips with World Yoga Champion Kasper van den Wijngaard