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Youth Resides In The Spine!  Now that we have covered the topic of elongation, we will move into the discussion of back-bends in our yoga practice.

The six movements (forward, backward, side, side, twist, twist) are key in a well rounded yoga session.  On top of these six movements a well rounded practice should also include a balanced stretch of all the muscles in the body.  This allows tension to release, organs to detoxify, strength to be built and flexibility to integrate.  A steady flow of breathing through-out your asanas will ensure optimum results of all those benefits.

Back-bends are my favorite part of yoga because they open the heart!  Back-bends open the lungs and can help improve breathing, they improve our posture, and they leave us with a sense of openess and lightness.

In Hatha Yoga we focus on finding a balance of sun-moon energy, and it is the back-bends that build heat in the body, create energy and focus on the sun energy.  Back-bends give us tapas, a fire-burning energy that motivates and invigorates us.

If you are new to yoga some gentle back-bends include sphinx, cobra, bridge pose, and half-circle pose.  Deeper back-bends include upward dog, pigeon pose, camel pose, bow pose, and wheel.  Yoga Journal Website has some amazing examples of back-bends, including some videos and other resources.

Always consult with your doctor before beginning any physical fitness routine, and find a certified yoga instructor who can guide you safely through the postures.

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