As summer break is now in full effect it is common to come across a gaggle of young people on adventure, courageously exploring new experiences, new relationships, and new ways of being in the world. I always enjoy such collisions as they remind me to be more childlike in the way I sense the world, to welcome the opportunity to be brave and do new things or experience old things from a fresh stance.
The Hatha Yoga practice, like life, invites more courage and willingness into our daily routines. Certain postural forms invite more courage than others as they move us out of what is familiar and comfortable, and into the unknown. Backbends, inversions, and hand balances all fall into this department. Standing backbends, however, are sort of like summer vacation, the standard set of rules change, things get more exciting, more wild, more free, and even kind of risky, which adds to the element of fun.
To begin, stand with your feet outer-hip-width apart and parallel. Inhale to make your foundation strong, drawing into the midline and into your steadfast courage. Exhale, to root down through your tailbone into your heels as you lift your heart to the sky. Inhale to create more space for new expression, lifting your side waist, ribs and heart away from your hips. Draw your shoulder blades sweetly and strongly into one another on your back supporting your heart as you begin to lean back. For more support place your hands on the back of your hips or thighs.
Let your gaze be guided by your heart looking skyward and your neck extending long from your shoulders as you press your head back. Continue to maintain stability in your legs as your draw them in and root them down.
Breathe and enjoy!