Backbend Series - All Levels
SOLAR #4: Moon Salutation
A Yoga flow that is similar to, but softer than the Sun Salutation. Yoga poses to gain flexibility in the lower body. In this class: Anjaneyasana (low lunge stretch) and Hanumanasana (split) refer to Hanuman, the Monkey God in Indian mythology. Anjaneyasana means the pose of the son of Anjane (Hanuman's mother). In the story, Hanuman always serves his best friend, king Ram, in a kneeling pose (Anjaneyasana). When Sita, Ram's wife was kidnapped by a demon and to an island, Hanuman helped to take her back by making a huge step (a split) to land on the island. Hanumanasana is an awesome and the most thorough stretch for the lower body. It looks ¨impossible¨ but trust the progress! No judgment about how you look, only observe and recognize. Next time you do it, you will see it!
SOLAR #16: Hanumanasana 2/2 : Hip Flexor Stretch
Learn Hip Square to target stretching the hip flexor group. This class is about stretching the back leg in Hanumanasana (Split). The muscle group that we target here is called the hip flexor group. This group flexes our hips, which means every time you bring your legs in front of you, hip flexor group is being shortened. How many activities in the day do we do that? Probably all. That's why this group is tight in most people. The hip flexor group has its biggest muscle and also the muscle that do most of the job: Psoas. This muscle is very large but hidden inside our body. It runs from our spine, through our pelvis, and down to our thigh bones. We can't touch it. In mostly everyone, it's tight. The other related muscle group is the quads. You can touch this one, it's your front thigh muscle group. Quads mean 4 as there are 4 muscles in this group, and one of the quads is a hip flexor. To target the stretch to the hip flexors, we need to keep our hips ¨squared¨.
SOLAR #21: Kings Of Backbend
Big backbends are big because 1. We also bend the upper back to open our chest and 2. We also open the front of the hips and shoulders. Learn how to use a strap to get into King Dancer, King Pigeon and Bow Pose in an action called ¨Flip Grip¨. Stay calm and keep your breath going in Backbend. Backbend poses expose all the sensitive parts of the body such as neck, heart, belly with the main arteries and organs inside. It's scary for our body to be exposed like that, so we tend to freeze and stop breathing in a backbend. Gain full control of the situation, stay calm, and enjoy the awesome big stretch that will make you feel so energetic!
SOLAR #26: Wheel Pose
Wheel Pose is a big backbend Yoga pose that requires strong arms. The arms position could feel weird at first, but it's actually the same joint action of the shoulder joints: Shoulder flexion like in familiar Yoga poses such as Plank, Chaturanga, Down Dog, Up Dog. Whenever you bring your arm to the front of your body, it's shoulder flexion. Imagine: In Plank, the shoulder flexion is approximately 90 degrees. In Down Dog, shoulder flexion is about 180 degrees. In Wheel Pose, shoulder flexion exceeds 180 degrees so it feels awkward because we rarely use our arms like that. But no worry, any skill can be trained!
SOLAR #41: Hanumanasana - Over Split
An Over Split is something that is even more than a Split. A Split that is more than 180 degrees, often done with blocks underneath one foot or both feet. Wait?! Then how can we do that if we can't even do a 180-degree split? Just like any hard Yoga poses, we don't need to do the pose perfectly to gain its benefits. Support yourself with your full Yoga gears (blocks, pillows, wall) and gain full control of your body. Master the stretch and make it work for you and bring benefits to your body: stretching out the big tight muscle groups in the lower body. Not at all the other way round: become a slave of the pose and allow it to ¨torture¨ you. If possible, prepare 4 blocks for this class. If you only have 2 blocks, you can find a bunch of books in the house and cover a blanket around them to elevate your front foot. Otherwise, you can still do the class with 2 blocks. However, it would be less supported, and slightly less fun.
SOLAR #35: Hard Wheel Pose
(but actually easier than Wheel Pose). Take back bending poses slowly and try Down Dog and Anjaneyasana with flip grip, Wheel Pose and Wheel Pose variation with your forearm on the floor (Hard Wheel Pose). Get the benefits of backbend in Yoga: Stretch the front body Strengthen the back body Gain much body awareness and control Learn to stay calm in a difficult situation And remember you don't need to do the perfect Yoga pose in 100% to gain those benefits.