❤ Happy February Friends!
It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the new year and for my fellow east coasters digging ourselves out of the havoc of Jonas. However, the sun is shining again and the snow is melting…
All February long, Baltimore Charm City YogaWorks is partnering with the American Heart Association to raise awareness and donations for the Go Red for Women campaign aimed at empowering women to take charge of their heart health. Feb 1 – 14 we will celebrate with 14 days straight of yoga cultivating joy, compassion, and unconditional love for ourselves and those around us. [Local to Baltimore? Join in here: Open your heart]
Whether you are practicing in Baltimore or across the globe, consider adding a few extra backbends this February when you arrive on your mat. One of my favorites?
Winter is an incredible time to add some heart openers and backbends into your practice. Why?
Think of all the time we spend bending forward in the day…at the computer (guilty!), reading over a coffee, texting, cleaning, eating… in actuality most of our day is spent in an unsupported forward bend. This makes the back very cranky.
<—Check out our spine here, if it were in a person, they would be facing the left side of the screen:
Internally, forward bending causes the front of the vertebrae to move closer together, forcing the inter-vertebral disks and spinal nerves back (OUCH). This can cause:
- low back and neck pain / increase symptoms related to sciatica
- Constrict blood flow to vital organs and glands
- Can have a negative effect on self-esteem and mood
As a PT, my colleagues and I see SOOOO much low back pain * sigh, in fact according to at 2015 survey done by the NIH:
About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days. In a large survey, more than a quarter of adults reported experiencing low back pain during the past 3 months.
There are so many benefits to adding a few backbends or “spinal extensions” into your life. Consider just a few:
- Stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, energizing the body and preparing it for action (read more about the autonomic nervous system on this previous post: Quit playing games with my heart)
- Counteracts the above mentioned bad posture
- Relieves back pain, bronchial distress, and helps to realign the spine
- Increases fluid circulation to the kidneys and stimulates / squeezes the adrenal glads
- Emotionally, back bends can be scary; so they help train us to break through insecurity and fears from the safety of our very own mats.
So come on WILD THINGS… make your hearts sing this February ❤
Wild thing, a little too crazy for you? Consider starting small like cobra or sphinx pose. And always remember to check with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise program 🙂