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Asana Category: Backbends

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Lesson Overview

In this lesson, we examine backbending poses as a category, and ways to apply this knowledge in teaching.

Objective

Become proficient in the nature and effects of backbending poses, and considerations for wisely teaching and sequencing them.

Description

Describe the primary effect of backbends and a secondary effect that is experienced in active backbends. Define the anatomical term “extension” and explain what is meant by spinal extension in yoga. List categories of backbends, the actions that characterize them and an example of each. Describe the general physical and energetic effects of backbends. Define “nutation and “counternutation” and explain the proper action of the sacrum during backbending. Explain the circumstances under which students will likely benefit from contracting the glutes in backbending and when it is usually best to relax the glutes. Describe low body engagement and alignment practices to support healthy backbending. Describe sequencing considerations and provide a list of backbending poses.

Questions Answered Here

  1. What is the primary effect of backbends?
  2. What is the secondary effect that is experienced in active backbends?
  3. What is meant by the anatomical term extension?
  4. What is meant by spinal extension in yoga?
  5. Name four categories of backbends and the actions that characterize them. Give an example of each.
  6. What are the general physical effects of backbends? What are the energetic effects?
  7. What is “nutation?” What is “counternutation?”
  8. Should the sacrum be in nutation or counternutation during backbending?
  9. In what case might students likely benefit from contracting the glutes in backbending? In what case is it usually best to relax the glutes?
  10. Describe low body engagement and alignment practices to support healthy backbending.
  11. What are the objectives in sequencing to prepare for deep backbends?
  12. How are categories of backbends sequenced in relation to one another?
  13. What is recommended immediately after backbending and before cooling down?
  14. What types of poses should be avoided after active backbending?
  15. For what purpose are some backbends used as counterposes?
  16. Why are backbends typically a good way to practice mindfulness?
  17. Name up to 50 (!) backbending poses.

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