Aside from the benefits that we already know about aerial yoga such as improving your flexibility, longer endurance, a more stable balance, improved posture, what else can you get from the practice?
A lot of aerial yoga asanas focuses on muscle training, conditioning, and even toning — there are truly a lot of things that you can do with just one equipment. In this blog, we are going to give a bit more highlight to your spine and your ability to do backbends.
Backbends are just as essential as any other pose or focus in aerial yoga but some might be afraid to try them particularly because of the nature of the poses and the involvement of the spine.
We all know that although the spine strongly holds us up, it is still vital to exercise it with utmost gentleness because it is indeed very delicate and incorrect execution of movements could cause even serious injury. One of the best poses or stretch that you can practice with your spine are backbends.
Are you ready to unlock your backbends with yoga swings? Then let’s get into it!
How do Backbends work?
Backbends are already an important part of the traditional floor yoga that we know. Although they are often made easier with the help of other equipment such as yoga blocks, they are much easier with a yoga swing!
The yoga swing is not just your ordinary piece of suspended fabric — an aerial yoga swing can hold up and withstand pulling, stretching, tugging, and accompany you all throughout your fitness journey.
There is a very unique balance in the way our spine works: the dynamics of our bones, nerves, ligaments, and the mind itself makes this particular area of the body one of the most important but typically given less attention.
Backbends are strengthening and invigorating and targets certain areas of the body where pressure typically accumulates throughout the day. In doing backbends, the spine itself is not the only part involved. The shoulders, arms, and core also play an important role in making them possible.
We can also refer to backbends as front body stretches as they open up the chest and shoulders as we do the poses. They are also great if you spend a lot of time doing core workouts. Oftentimes, we feel a particular tightness with our core every time we finish a set and that is normal. If you are looking for a way to relieve this tightness and ease some aches, then backbends are the answer!
Backbends counter the many core workouts that we do without affecting the supposed goals of doing so. They are easy to do, accessible, and is for all ages. Similarly, having a strong core also makes backbends a lot easier to do since with a strong core, one is much more able to balance themselves and remain stable while doing the pose, more so when suspended in an aerial yoga setting.
Yet, although backbends are very doable and suits a wide variety of people, there are still some things that one must know and consider before doing backbends. As we said earlier, the spine is involved so we should always proceed with caution and gentleness to avoid unwanted injuries.
These cautions and reminders will be tackled further in the article.
Why should you do Backbends?
There are a multitude of reasons as to why you should do backbends and we are here to convince you of it!
You feel tightness in your hip and shoulders
If you are one of those people who spends a big portion of their day staying in a static position whether it be sitting, standing, or any other else that limits your movement, then it is likely that you feel tightness in your hip and shoulders.
Backbends are great for easing this tightness by providing a gentle stretch to the areas particularly with the help of suspension from a yoga swing. It does not only relieve your muscles, but also provide a sense of comfort and relaxation that you might be needing.
Your leg muscles feel weak
Similarly, because of the limited movement that we do throughout the day, our muscles must receive less movement therefore making them too static. Having strong legs are important when doing backbends but that does not mean that you cannot just because your legs feel weak at the moment — the practice of doing backbends could also help you in building strength in this area.
You are looking for a slow-paced and recovery-focused activity
In yoga, in all variations, pacing is one of the most important things to keep in mind. Usually, yoga flows are slow and controlled and does not require that much power but more on focusing on retaining stability and doing the right stretch. In yoga, it is taught that an action must then be followed by a counter action so we see that after a backbend pose, the next pose would be something that requires folding forward or anything of the sort.
Now here is where we often get it wrong: we move too fast in between poses that we do not let our body recover. Doing so may cause discomfort and will just invalidate the essence of the practice altogether. So remember, keep a slow and steady pacing and do not move hastily.
A way to battle tiredness
At the end of the day, we think we can all agree that getting some good stretch before hitting the sheets has never been more satisfying. All the pressure, even emotions, are let go with even just a few stretches here and there so why not do them seriously and with a proper flow? Yes, floor yoga would have suffice but aerial yoga can do it better.
In aerial yoga, the comfort that the yoga swing provides adds in helping your body wind down from all the hustle and bustle of your day. The sling also provides a particular pressure in your body that shows support — that you can let go of your worries because the swing is there to literally catch and lift you up.
You are afraid to do it
There is quite a known saying: “Face your fears.” and we believe that is true. The best way to counter and fight our fears is to face them so we can finally eradicate the fear in our minds and heart and open ourselves to new possibilities that were once hindered by this fear.
Oftentimes, the people who come in and practice aerial yoga have a fear of heights or being suspended form the ground. Not feeling the ground with the soles of their feet are hard for them but this is then solved with the help of aerial yoga as it provides them with a feeling of safety and security and of course with the guidance of a professional aerial yogi.
Do not get us wrong, we are not in any way forcing you to do the things you are not comfortable with, yet, if you finally happen to build the courage to face this fear then the aerial yoga community is more than happy to help.
3 Divisions of Backbends
Another thing to know is that backbends have divisions or distinctions and they are as follows:
Traction – this is where your body is bending with gravity. The best example of this is the practice of backbends with aerial yoga.
Leverage – these backbend poses are done with the use of the arms and legs to get deeper into the poses.
Contraction – is the opposite of traction. These backbend poses are where we go against gravity and is commonly done for strength building.
You do not really have to choose a particular division to work on.
A good melange of these three will do the job but it is still better to consult with your instructor and physician as well especially if you have pre-existing conditions prior to engaging with the activity.
Never forget to warm up!
Of course, the golden rule of all of exercising: never forget to do a warm up! Most often than none, some disregard warming up and just go and proceed with their workout of the day and we would like to remind you that this is NOT a good practice.
Not warming up could shock your muscles, and in extension, your body causing discomfort and less muscle performance. This may also cause increased body aches after the workout.
It is important to remember that warm-ups are vital even if you say that you are only going to do a gentle and low-impact workout like yoga or aerial yoga. Even so, it is still better to workout with warmed-up muscles that are ready for action.
Things to remember when doing backbends:
Now, we are going to tackle the cautions and reminders that you should know before doing backbends.
- Creating a solid foundation is the key to deeper bends. When doing backbends, always remember to plant your soles and palms firmly on the ground so you can balance better and maximize the effects of your backbend. (This tip also goes with non-backbend poses!) In aerial yoga, be sure that the right part of your body is in contact with the fabric or you are holding at the right place.
- Strengthen your limbs. Like we said, your spine is not the only one working in backbends — give attention to your limbs as well by engaging when needed as well as proper placement.
- Engage that core. We do not know how many times we have already said this but never forget to engage your core. You might ask, “Why? I am doing backbends, not core workouts.” — wrong! A strong core makes a deeper backbend possible by holding you up better and providing overall support.
- Do not put much pressure on your neck. In any variation of yoga, we do a lot of stretching and one part that students often forget is to also stretch and elongate their necks. When we are in the zone of the poses, we often only think about the core, the back, the limbs, and just how we are going to be able to execute the pose, but disregarding it might cause pain afterwards so do not forget your neck!
Emotional and Psychological Benefit
Of course, there is a science behind why we feel certain emotions while doing poses.
Whenever we feel overwhelmed, afraid, or sad, our body’s natural response is to curl up in a fetus position as if protecting our heart or ourselves from the world and the same goes for when we do backbends: we open up, gather confidence which builds the courage to finally expose ourselves and brave on what life throws our way.
Backbends made easier with Aerial Yoga!
Like we said, a lot of you might be afraid to do backbends particularly because it involves moving and stretching the spine in ways you do not usually do. It is okay to feel this way because aerial yoga will definitely help you overcome this.
With aerial yoga you are suspended mid-air meaning you will have a greater space for movement. Not to mention, the floating, freeing feeling that the swing gives.
In aerial yoga, you also get to practice strengthening your arms and legs regardless of the focus of your flow, particularly with a yoga swing since it is the one with the handles that makes poses more possible.
Grasping and pulling of the swing causes movement and repetitions to biceps and calves therefore increasing strength and endurance to do not only backbend poses but even complex aerial yoga asanas!
Doing backbends is not the only thing that you can master with the yoga swing. Much better, backbends could introduce you to the formal practice itself! There is definitely nothing you cannot do better with a yoga swing!
Getting the right equipment for the job
There is nothing more important than being safe in whatever activity that is why if you ever choose the path of aerial yoga, we at Gravotonics have been specializing in creating the most trusted and authentic handmade Bali yoga swings since 2003.
We have received numerous 5-star reviews from our customers all across the globe. We also provide blogs and tutorials for you to try aside from the top-notch equipment that you can buy.
We are waiting for you so let’s get swinging and unlock your backbends with yoga swings!