Yoga Recipe & Playlist: Locusts and Sphinxes and Backbends, oh my! part 1 of 2

sphynx pose lick

It´s time for a backbend or two!

I tend to prefer my backbends with a starter of hip opening poses, but hey, it´s your practice. Know you can check back on some of our other Yoga Recipes here to put together your own sequence at home n stuff yeah? Cool.

So onto the backbend bonanza.

Backbends can be so wonderfully invigorating. They can offer a little boost to pep you up, so mornings can be oh so suitable for that. That said, I really enjoy slotting a backbend or two into my day, or even into my evening practice at home, especially if i´ve been sitting all day at a desk. Just remember to neutralise your work by sitting or laying down, or offering a counter pose such as child´s pose.

It´s said that backbends can enable us to be more in touch with matters of the heart, as they tend to tap into tension that lurks around the shoulder, chest and neck area – for many of us these are places that get all tight and constricted, especially if we aren´t used to opening this region. So, feel it´s important to mention that sometimes, there can be physiological reactions after taking postures that might bring things to the surface and make us feel emo n stuff. And it´s nothing to be scared or ashamed of. Just go gently, keep breathing and be kind in the way you handle yourself (always!). If things do bubble up, take a break and perhaps a bath or something indulgent. Often stuff emerges when it needs to, so see it as a release of sorts. Right. Onwards!

This week we are splitting the recipe into two – the first is more of a “low key” backbend, but it certainly offers a great opening. If you´re a beginner, I recommend starting with the first pose and working with that for a while until you feel you want to go deeper.

Part 1 of this series is more a yin-yoga style Sphynx pose. This can be adapted for pregnancy but the version i´m showing here isn´t a prenatal variation.

sphynx pose variation 2

Sphynx Pose variation

I love. this pose. Just need to shout that out as I got a lot of love for it. This pose for me is a go-to everyday backbend that is accessible to many. I like to hang out here for longer holds, especially after long days or when i´m feeling a little knackered. In fact, I spent most of last week returning to it as we have been transitioning to autumn. I hope it helps you.

Before you begin: this pose focuses more on a compression of the low back in order to stimulate that area. If you have issues with your back or you´re tight around the sacrum, best to avoid it. There shouldn´t be any pain here at all, so “back”off (…sorry) should you experience any pinching or sharpness.

  1. Come onto your belly and prop yourself up on your elbows and forearms. Start to find a rhythm of breath that feels spacious in this position that you can carry through the hold.
  2. Take your elbows slightly forward of your shoulders, feel free to experiment with that distance, then take your hands to each elbow so your forearms cross. The closer the elbows are to you, the deeper the compression will be, so tread with caution.
  3. This is pretty much it guys! You can freestyle from here onward. Sometimes, I find by dropping my chin towards my chest that my neck gets a good stretch. But we´re all different so see how your neck feels here. Lifting the chin and lengthening the crown of the head up or even back can give you a bit more opening in the chest and throat, so try that on for size. You can sag the shoulders if that feels good. You can also bend the knees too (which will add more compression to the pose) so keep listening to your body and do what feels good.
  4. Hold for up to a minute, then rest your head on your hands and soften all your muscles.

Enjoy that sweet, vulnerable, raw, beautiful and tender opening lovelies! Be gentle with you.

Part two is here!

Here´s some oldies but goldies to accompany you on your back – bending quest. I got you, innit.

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