Yoga Practice: Seated Backbends

The heart beats in a faithful and constant rhythm throughout a lifetime. To keep the heart nourished and happy, heart-opening backbends can work wonders. Backbends create space for energy to move more freely to and from the heart, connecting us to the qualities of love, security, and compassion. Backbends also enhance circulation, nourish the spine, increase lung capacity, and regulate the endocrine system.

Try a simple, seated backbend to help you open your heart. Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your spine tall.

  • Root down through your seat while lifting up through your chest and the top of your head, keeping your shoulders and belly relaxed.
  • Take your arms behind your back and interlace your hands.
  • On an inhalation, lengthen your arms and press your knuckles toward the floor.
  • Lift up through the center of your chest so your upper spine arches.
  • Let your shoulders release away from the ears and press down through your seat.
  • Take five to ten deep breaths. Keep your awareness in your chest as you breathe deeply.
  • Release and take a moment to absorb the effects of the pose.

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Janna Delgado, E-RYT 1000, Kripalu faculty member and curriculum developer for the Kripalu Yoga in the Schools program, is a facilitator and trainer for RISE, an evidence-based program in conscious leadership.

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