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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tip of the Week: Bend the Arms to Release the Neck in Backbends

One of the big problems with backbends where the arms are extended up above the body is that there is way too much tension in the shoulder, head and neck area. What MUST go hand in hand with straight arms is shoulders down and back away from the ears and neck long. 

When coming out of the side bend in Half Moon, most will just straighten the arms, stretch up and then go back. Instead, inhale back up to the center. Now instead of straightening the arms, BEND them a little for a moment as you lengthen and soften the neck, and relax the shoulders. The arms only need to bend enough to feel your shoulders move down and your neck lengthen. You can feel how everything is free there. NOW you will drop the head backward and feel the stretch on the front of the throat. Your arms can still have that slight bend. You should feel a freedom and ease and perhaps more than you ever have in this position. Now you can lengthen the arms and straighten them. 

When you come up from your left hand side Half Moon: 

*Bend your arms a little. This will soften your neck. The arms only need to bend enough to feel your shoulders move down and your neck lengthen. 

*Keep your arms bent while you drop your head backwards.

*When your head is safely back and you are looking backwards (not up!), first make sure legs are locked. Then push the hips forward, inhale and lengthen your torso, lift up through the chest, and lengthen and straighten the arms (still with head back).

*Then go into your backbend as you exhale.

*When you’ve managed to go back as far as you can and you feel any resistance in the neck, simply stop, bend the arms for a moment as you feel your neck relax again, lengthen the arms gently and continue on your path.

For more tips on backbends, click "here"

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