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Standing Back Bend

Back bend that strengthens your abdominal muscles.
 

You can perform Standing Back Bend to open and stretch the front of your body. This pose also strengthens your abdominal muscles and back, with an emphasis on your lower back. You can perform Standing Back Bend to help you learn correct spinal alignment, which can alleviate problems with your spine.
 
Standing Back Bend is a good warm-up pose for other standing poses, such as Dancer Pose. This pose is also commonly performed as part of Sun Salutation.
 
As you hold the pose, do not allow your head to drop back or your lower back to arch too much. Instead, try to maintain length through your entire spine as you visualize the smooth and gentle curve of your back.
 
After performing Standing Back Bend, you should perform a standing forward bend, such as Rag Doll Pose, to stretch your spine in the opposite direction.
 
You should use caution performing Standing Back Bend if you have problems with your neck or lower back.
 
Steps:
Begin in Mountain Pose.
Inhale as you circle your arms out to each side and bring your palms together overhead.
(Your arms should be straight, but your elbows should not be locked.)
Relax your shoulders down away from your ears.
Press your feet into the floor and extend through the crown of your head to lengthen your spine.
Inhale as you press your hips forward and gently arch your upper body backward.
(Make sure you keep your head and neck in line with your spine.)
(Your upper arms should stay beside your ears throughout the pose.)
Tilt your head to look up at the ceiling, keeping your neck long.
(Make sure you do not allow your head to drop back.)
Hold the pose for 5 to 30 seconds.
To come out of the pose, inhale and lift your torso upright. Then exhale and bring your arms to your sides.
 
Modification:
You can perform Standing Back Bend with your hands on your lower back to help support your lower back. This modification also allows you to support some of your weight with your arms. Perform Standing Back Bend, except place your palms on your lower back with your fingers pointing toward the floor.
 
My lower back feels strained in this pose. What can I do?
To make this pose easier on your lower back, you can stand with your legs a little wider than hip width apart. You can also try standing straight with your arms extended overhead, instead of bending backward. While standing straight, focus on lengthening your entire body and move your upper arms back slightly behind your ears to open the front of your body.
 
How can I open my chest more in this pose?
To open your chest more, step your right foot forward and clasp your elbows behind your back. Then inhale as you gently arch your upper back backwards. After holding the pose for 15 to 45 seconds, inhale as you lift your torso upright and then exhale as you return to Mountain Pose. Repeat these steps with your left foot forward. If you cannot lie on your stomach, this variation serves as a good alternative to Cobra Pose.
 
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