Posts tagged spine
Yes to backbends!

Yes to Backbends!

“If you have a good spine, the gods will chase you. Nobody has psychological or emotional problems, everyone has a bad spine." - Bikram Choudhury


I love it when our Yoga teachers build their classes around a theme in which they focus on one of our problematics area. My least favorite are definitely backbends but at the same time they are, aside from hip opening, what I need to work on the most. But that’s just the thing, isn’t it? Those postures and areas we don’t like to work much are those that we get the most benefits from and which make the biggest difference. And thus I decided to do little research on backbends in and attempt to change my attitude towards them. And this is what I’ve found...

Those things that we do on daily basis and give any thought to such as lifting up our kids, reading newspaper, typing on computer and more, consist of us banding forward in a way that is unsupported. This can then cause prolonged poor posture which leads to cause or aggravation of back and neck pain, pressure on vital organs which then prevents them from proper functioning and it also badly effects person’s self-esteem.

And just imagine that this all could be avoided if we take our time to do some backbends during our day. As with everything else in yoga and life, we need to take care of our body by making sure that we counter-act all those movements and postures we do and that is why the backbends are so important - it instals balance to our body.

But there are other physical benefits that we gain from back-bending which are worth the mentioning. Back-bending stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which helps to prepare our bodies for action, it realigns the spine, help with digestive function and eliminate constipation. On top of that, backbends also stimulates all of our chakras and help us to relieve a stress.

I hope this helps you as much as it helps me - doing that which I don’t like make suddenly more since when I know how good it is for my body.

Headstand How To with Pilar and Ellie

Stemming from a discussion the other day about what part of the head you use for a headstand, Pilar and Ellie decided to make a few videos.  Below you will find Sirsasana A with Pilar and Sirsasana B with Ellie.  These videos are of course in addition to learning in class with your teacher present. Headstand is wonderful inversion that can stimulate the brain, energise the body and mind, and help you feeling strong.  It requires strength, flexibility, and practice.  So don't get discouraged if you don't come right up the first time you try.  When the body and mind are ready, the pose comes.

Typically we learn Sirsana A, before moving on to a tripod headstand.  Here it is:

Here in Sirsasana B, Ellie answers the question of what part of the head rests on the floor, and how to find it. In pressure point terms it is Du 20, the top of the head just up from the ears. Check out tripod below!

Ellie Coats is our Yoga for Athletes expert starting your day right on Tuesday mornings at 7:30.  Pilar teaches headstands and more inversions in her 2/3 classes.  Come along and have fun!

If you have just tuned in to the blog, check the many other videos we have made here at Camyoga under the video blog section of the site, and Subscribe on youtube.

Michael Gannon at Camyoga and on Your iPhone

The 'Yoga Dealer' is coming to Camyoga before he hits the London Yoga Show.  Michael Ganoon trained in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd series of Ashtanga with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.  He now travels the world, teaching, inspiring, and sharing his love of the practice.

Camyoga is thrilled to welcome him on Wednesday October 26 for a workshop on opening your heart and finding the elements of backbending.  You don't have to be a backbending superstar for this session, it's open to all levels and abilities.

Love your ashtanga?  Then Join Michael on Thursday for a Full Ashtnaga Vinyasa Count class. It is a rare opportunity to practice the "full form" with the correct vinyasa count in Sanskrit.  Book here for both events.

Want your ashtanga anywhere? There's an app for that. Michael has released the first ever ashtanga app for iPhone and iPad. This app is personally tried, tested, and approved. It has beginner and advanced options, great pictures and instructions, and simple to use features. Check it out! 

Get to Know Camyoga Member, Stephen Green

Name:  Steve Green

Age: 54

Occupation: Accountant for 30 years up to February this year.  Currently using a rather generous redundancy package to have a year (or two) of yoga.


What brought you to yoga?

The after effects of surgery to remove a prolapsed disc from my lower back.  I pretty much tried everything and Alexander Technique started me on a long term fascination with all forms of somatics – Feldenkrais, and Chi Gung in particular.

I stumbled across Camyoga on the internet a month after being made redundant having just been accepted to do a Chi Gung teacher training course in London.   My chiropractor had advised that my scoliosis would become more debilitating if I persisted with office work and I was totally disenchanted with corporate life.  Since April, I have been to over fifty classes as Camyoga.  I cannot remember my back feeling as free as it does now.  It is not always a pleasant process releasing chronic tensions – ‘stuff comes up’, but the rewards are enormous.    The teachers at Camyoga, and I think I have tried most of them, are all excellent and I feel very fortunate to have found such an inspiring school of yoga so close to home.

What do you do when you are not doing yoga?

Cycling, canoeing, and walking, mostly in the company of my two daughters, Zoe and Eleni.


What is your favorite yoga pose and why?

Turtle / tortoise – it’s hugely calming and keeps you really closely connected to the breath.  Iyengar says it’s a sacred pose and I am beginning to understand why.


What is your least favorite yoga pose and why?

Any form of handstand, so far I cannot remotely do it.


What is one quality you have taken off the mat and incorporated into your daily life?

Being happy for no particular reason.


An interesting fact about Stephen that you may not know is that he was born in the Solomon Islands.



How to avoid the dreaded Cobra Dog

Cobra (bhujangasana) and updog (urdhva mukha svanasana) are two distinct postures.  A blurring of the line between these two poses might be uncomfortable for the low back or shoulders. Also, learning to move with intention and precision will keep you present in your body. In the second of Louise Lloyd's sun salutation series, she covers the key differences between the two poses.  Cobra and updog both look and feel different.

Don't be caught in the cobra dog pose!  Check out more in this video

Stay tuned for more videos on the transitions in and out of these two poses.