Forward Bends Versus Backbends

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  • Increases flexibility in the back of the legs (hamstrings), hips, shoulders and spine
  • Balances the nervous system (to PSNS) and calms the mind
  • Improves digestion and elimination by stimulating the liver, digestive organs and kidneys
  • Possible to stretch the lower back by placing a bend in the knees
  • Good preparation for meditation
  • Can be therapeutic for hypertension, insomnia, anxiety, menstruation and mild depression
  • Activates the PSNS response to rebalance the body into homeostasis (regulating hormones for reproduction, metabolism, immunity and digestion)
  • Allows introspection, patience and Svadhyaya (self study)
  • Increases circulation to the pelvic area to assist with infertility, impotence and lack of sexual drive
  • Cools the body


  • Requires that the spine is very warm and mobilised in many different directions before attempting a backbend
  • Your backbends will benefit from open hips, chest and shoulders
  • Requires a solid foundation
  • Core needs to be switched on (uddiyana and mula bandha), shoulder blades drawn together and length in the cervical spine (jalandhara bandha)
  • Best to be neutralised by a twist or Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Invigorating
  • Strengthens the legs, arms and back muscles
  • Opens the chest and hip flexors where we store a lot of tension and emotion
  • Increases awareness and mobility of the spine
  • Improves posture
  • Builds courage by opening Anahata chakra


By Alyssa McLeod



All About Backbends – Ekhart Yoga. 2016. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25 November 2016].