Updated: Mar 4, 2020
B O D Y
Probably you've noticed that our spine is not straight, but it has 4 main curves. (If you've never noticed the whole 4, grab the first person next to you and give it a quick check.) These curves are paramount for an animal that walks upright (namely, us humans) for a practical distribution of weight and stress.
Thing is that by sitting for long hours at a time (I'm not getting repetitive here, am I?) we keep our lumbar curve - our lower back, to be clear- pressed in the other direction. By lying in Sphinx pose with all our muscles unengaged, we "remind" our lower back of its natural curve. While we NEVER want to experience any pain, know that a little discomfort is very likely the first times you work on your lower back.
**please, if you have any medical condition practice under the guidance of a teacher, and only after consulting your doctor**
E M O T I O N S
But we know that the physycal one is only one of our bodies. And we know that Yoga works on many different levels, including the emotional one. And backbends are one of the strongest triggers for emotional release. Camel pose, in particular, stimulates the Lungs meridian that, according to the Daoist tradition, is associated with Defensive energy, making sure that nothing harmful enters the body. Then you can see how opening our hearts like that, the front of our body completely exposed, can trigger powerful unconscious reactions.
M I N D
We always have to keep in mind that while we definitely want to push our limits during our practice, we want to do so with respect for our bodies and for our own limits. So, especially if backbend feel demanding for you on a physycal and/or emotional level, you 'll want to finish your practice with something that feels effortlessly good, so that your mind doesn't get the signal that you should be scared by backbends.
And let me tell you, a juicy twist feels always oh-so-good. After crossing your legs, you want to let your knees fall towards the ground while opening your chest up to the sky. When you've found the right balance between your knees and shoulders, take a a deep breath in, allowing it to go all the way down into your lower belly. Breathing out, allow it to softly draw in, feeling how the softness in your belly allows the twist to get deeper into your lower spine. The slower your breathing, the more relaxed your body. The more relaxed the body, the more relaxed the mind. Even if body and mind constantly influence each other, in this pose, to me, there's only one direction: the body relaxes, and the mind can't do anything but follow💙