Yoga – Backward Bend

The Backward Bend involves the entire body. From it are derived many wonderful benefits. For our purposes we will emphasize the benefits for the feet and toes. When you sit on your heels, you stretch and strengthen the feet. Holding the arms parallel as advised is good for the j shoulders and for muscle tone in the upper arms. Remember j to stay on the heels when you arch your spine (otherwise, you lose the stretch).

For most sedentary workers, attempting to perform this ex­ercise is conclusive proof of how stiff this area of the body has become. Many find this movement painful, especially if they attempt to rest the full weight of the body on the toes all at once. Usually only a limited amount of the body weight should be placed on the heels in the beginning. Each day the toes will grow a little stronger and will be able to support more weight. Gradually the full weight of the body can rest on the heels.

How to Do Backward Bend

1. Sit on your heels. The top of your feet are resting on the floor and your knees are together in front of you.

2. Place the palms of your hands so that they rest on the floor on either side of your body.

3. Little by little, “walk” back with your hands until you reach a comfortable maximum.

4. Lower your head backward and push your abdomen and chest upward to form the greatest possible arch without strain. You must remain seated on your heels. Remain in your extreme position for the advised number of seconds. Do not fidget, fight or strain. All extreme positions should be held motionless.

5. Relax by slowly lowering your abdomen and chest and raising your head. Try to stay seated on your heels and do not move your hands; the posture thus becomes easy
to repeat.

6. To repeat, simply drop your head backward and push upward with your abdomen and chest as described in step 4.

7. To come out of the posture, slowly drop your abdomen and chest and raise your head; “walk” forward little by little until you are able to easily raise your trunk from your heels.

8. Change the position of your feet so that your toes now rest on the floor. If you are able to sit on your heels in this position, attempt to perform the exact movements of steps 2, 3 and 4. Move very carefully and stop at whatever point this posture becomes uncomfortable. If this movement is uncomfortable for you, simply put as much weight as you can on your heels and toes and hold your position for the prescribed time.

9. Come out of the posture very slowly by “walking” forward little by little with your hands and fingers. Relax by sitting in a cross-legged posture. Massage your feet gently with your hands if necessary.

Important Things to Know About Backward Bend

In this technique, we will attempt to relieve tension through a convex (inward) stretching of the spine. Also, we will strengthen and gain elasticity in the feet and toes. You may experience some discomfort when you attempt to sit on your feet as instructed. This indicates that your feet have become weak and stiff and need to be gradually worked out and strengthened. If you will simply put as much weight as you can on your feet and patiently hold that position for the advised number of seconds, on the next day you will be able to support a little more weight. Within a few weeks you will certainly be able to rest the full body weight upon the feet. The same is true with the toes, although they are stubborn and usually require more time.

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