This short group of postures is our first movement after breathing. We bend the spine alternately forward and backward. The asymmetry in the lower body—one leg forward and one leg back—improves our balance and body awareness while opening the hips and lower back.
Connect with the warming, strengthening and opening sensations. Try to be stable, though at first you may feel wobbly. Work to feel your spine bending evenly in the backbend and forward bend. Avoid any sharp sensation in the spine—it means you have gone too deep without support.
In the backbends, the lungs are extended so the breath will feel shallow. Keep the breathing relaxed even though the breaths will be about 50%. In the forward bends the lungs are compressed as we engage the chest and abdomen. Focus on the breathing muscles on the backside of the chest. Breath will be about 60% in these positions, but it will feel much more relaxed than in the backbends.
These postures make the spine exible, releasing the muscles of the deep spine and low back. They stretch and strengthen the shoulders, chest, back, pelvis, legs, feet and abdomen including the psoas. They improve balance. The forward bend compresses the intestines, stomach, liver, pancreas and throat, encouraging circulation in the digestive system and the endocrine system.
An excerpt from the Ghosh Yoga Practice Manual - Intermediate
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
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