Improve Your Back Flexibility with Supported Backbends

Back bending postures in yoga classes may seem impossible for those with spinal tightness and pain.  Changing your focus from active arching yoga postures to yin inspired, passive, supportive yoga back bending postures may be the answer to increasing flexibility of the spine, lengthening the chest muscles, opening the heart and improving posture.

Iyengar back bending bench and/or an assortment of bolsters, blankets and yoga blocks can assist you in passive back bending postures.  Below is a picture of an Iyengar back bending bench.

The patented Hooked on Pilates® MINIMAX offers numerous ways to support your back into passive supportive backward bending postures.  Please watch this short video demonstrating how the flipped over MINIMAX can be used in this manner to achieve similar results as the Iyengar back bending bench.

The MINIMAX can also be used flat side down and the backward bending posture may be assumed over the slope side of the MINIMAX or over its rounded end. 

Here the Reclining Buddha Pose is performed over the rounded end of the MINIMAX.  The apex of the stretch is in the thoracic spine.

This is another version of Reclining Buddha Pose over the slope of the MINIMAX. Here the apex of the stretch is at the lower thoracic and upper lumbar spine.

The MINIMAX allows you a number of passive backward bending postures where you can gently encourage your body, spine and heart to open.  I always say you should feel like you are able to relax and welcome the stretch into your body.  If there is pain or an inability to calmly breath and relax in the posture, do not stay in the stretch - be kind to yourself and carry that kindness to others - KINDNESS IS THE NEW COOL!  Please reach out with any questions you have - stay healthy and well!  Martina