#1 They make us feel good
Yep, they sure do. Backbends are some of the most uplifting asanas, creating a more positive sense of self. There is something about the head being down and
the chest being open that changes the physical body and alters the mental perspective. As we go around in daily life so much of our existence is in our heads – Backbends get us out of the head and into the body and are hugely energizing for this reason. You only need to practice backbends to find this out for yourself.
#2 They create space and bring balance
While many kinds of sport wear the body down, backbends particularly have the opposite effect. They keep space in the body and keep the organs healthy and open. When we think of someone in good health we think of someone with a good posture and a full and open chest. What we associate with sadness or depletion is a collapsed chest. Backbends open the chest area as well as the lungs and improve the blood supply around the body. Most things we do in daily life
involve moving forward: sitting at desks, caring for children, driving and walking around involve moving the body forward and this can take a toll on the body. As we get older the spine will naturally round more and this also impedes the function of the heart and the lungs. Backbends can be a great antidote for this process, helping to balance the over-action of going forward and help us feel more freedom in the body.
#3 They prepare us to face challenges
Backbends directly lift our ability to tackle things in life. When we bend back we are going into the unknown so it does bring about fear – learning to work through this fear and resistance is part of the ongoing practice of backbends. As we practice facing this fear regularly we develop resilience and so too can this process help us to take courage outside of yoga when facing difficult or challenging situations.
#4 They make us strong
Backbends make the spine strong and flexible. This means that everything else works better as the spine is really the central frame for the body and caring for
the spine is vital for ongoing health. When our spine is strong and flexible we carry ourselves with a different level of integrity. This becomes increasingly important as we age and it is amazing to watch older yoga practitioners doing things beyond what the average person can do because of how strong and healthy their spines are.
#5 They keep us vital
There is a certain tenacity that is required to practice backbends: at some stage, you just have to do it. As we get older this kind of tenacity keeps us young and gives us confidence – how you feel becomes determined by what you can do.