When I struggled with low self-confidence, I worked a lot with meditation and affirmations. I wanted to wash my subconscious and higher self with positive affirmations.
Each person has a different type of therapy that suits him; some people prefer psychological sessions, coaching, acupuncture, psychiatrist pills, whatever the treatment is, Yoga can be a great complementary treatment.
Back bends are connected to emotions. Sometimes after practicing back bend session, emotions like: vulnerability, grief, anger, fear, frustration, sadness get released.
We store a lot of emotions in our body, the nervous system runs through our spine – back bends improve blood flow along the spine, thus flushing the whole nervous system with fresh oxygenated blood.
The hip flexors that are located in the front of the body are being open and stretched during back bends, the adrenal glands receive squeeze and massage during the posture, it all contribute to release some of our stored emotions.
Back bends are the exact opposite of our natural inclination to protect our heart (physically and emotionally). The chest, where the heart is, is used to be protected by our hunch forward. In a danger mode, we instinctively curl into a ball; back-bends open our chest, boosting adrenaline, help overcome fear and lowering energy.
We also store emotions in our hip joints, it comes from the same response mechanism to threat:
"Think of what you do when you are threatened or experience a sudden jolt. Our response to physical threat is to draw our knees to our chest and curl up into a fetal pose for protection. If we hear devastating news that brings us to tears, the response is to retreat to fetal pose to weep and guard ourselves. The action of drawing the knees in, no matter how dramatic, starts at the hips. The muscles are tightly clenched but never fully released. This lingering grasp of the hips not only traps muscular tension, but emotional tension too. It is the same action of clenching your fist when angry or grinding the jaw when stressed. Whether it is one traumatic event, or multiple small events, the feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness are stored at the hips until we bring them to the surface and allow a release. The longer you suppress emotion, the tighter the grasp." * https://goo.gl/e8X0pJ
Back-bend is helping the body be more open and courageous.
When you implement back bends in your yoga practice be sure to act with caution. the range of motion of our spine backward is smaller in percentage than forward or lateral flexion. Contract internal muscles in your pelvic and the buttocks and lower abdomen belt (core) muscles.
This helps to prevent injury.
In the next post I will tell you about the Bandhas, which means “locks” in Sanskrit.
Practicing with activated bandhas helps prevent injuries and bring awareness to our body.