Even gentle back bends such as cobra are energising. When performed in a sequence with forwards bends as for Sun Salutes, the movements encourage complete breath. They also strengthen arms and shoulders, stretch the abdominal muscles and stimulate spinal nerves and muscles.
Backward bends help to align vertebrae and discs. The spinal column is a stack of vertebrae and discs, supported by groups of back muscles on all sides. To keep the vertebra straight and strong, the muscles must be stretched and exercised. Weak muscles can cause the vertebrae to compress or slip out of alignment.
On this page, you will find links to articles for teaching and practicing backward bending poses. Each article includes instructions, a list of benefits, modifications and variations. Although, these are intended for certified instructors of yoga, beginner yogis will also find them useful.