The average person probably does not experience doing a backbend in their daily life. In our society we hunch forward… in our cars, behind our desks, in front of our computers. My favorite posture in Bikram Yoga is Camel pose, the deepest backbend in the series. It is a position of opening one’s self up in so many ways. It’s a place of vulnerability in which your emotions swell up to the surface. Many people including myself often experience intense sadness, giddiness, dizziness, tears in that pose. Perhaps, because I am an actor explains why I enjoy this position so much. I like to experience the visceral intensity of emotions… rage, bliss, grief , etc on stage. It gives a sense of freedom and flight. I also work as a psychotherapist, helping others express their emotions. I guess you could say I am in the Emotions business.
I once met a yoga teacher who works with recovering drug addicts, and she incorporated many backward bending poses in her work with them. People with addictions mask their true feelings with substances, they try to find distractions from what they really feel. They try to find distractions from themselves.
Doing a backbend is a very vulnerable position, it is a heart opener. To open your heart is a very risky act. My work as a therapist involves helping people remove the walls they build around their hearts that may protect from pain, but also protect one from love. People go to great lengths to avoid loving themselves and others in their life.
Being in a backbend also gives one a different perspective on what we see. In seeing the world upside down, you may perhaps notice something new. You may experience some dizziness and nausea in this pose. Why, you may ask, would you attempt to do it then? Well, life is not easy, and anything that may give you a reward may involve great risk and hard work. So the way to a healthy spine, may entail some sweat and allow yourself to let go… to take a risk. I promise you it is so worth every effort and drop of sweat.