If one is already suffering from an ailment/ weakness of the back, back arches might sometimes not be advisable. But for everyone else, it is highly recommended to make a regular practice of back arches a part of ones Asana practice – whether simple or complex/ advanced. A regular practice of arching back helps in maintaining the elasticity and mobility of the spine, improves posture, improves the nervous system, is therapeutic for various physiological and psychological conditions, and brings about a sense of exhileration and upliftment.
Especially in the Iyengar system of practice, there is an immense scope for exploration of back arches: preparatory positions give a flavour and many of the benefits of back arches even to those for whom these positions might not be advisable, the final Asanas have been dissected so that parts can be practiced in isolation. this brings focus to specific areas and actions. Props make possible those positions that might otherwise be inaccessible, and they also make possible longer stays in back arches.
This is an intermediate level session which works on refining a few actions in back arches: that we are not just arching the back, but that the buttocks function as a ‘stabiliser’, separating the actions of the legs from the actions of the back. When we are able to understand and execute these connections, the body doesnt simply arch without stability, but there is a ‘resistance’ to the back arching which makes it healthier and sustainable in the long run. This session tries to understand this concept in several back arches, without using too many supports. This session starts with a preparatory segment to prepare the upper back, shoulder, arms and the neck, and then we practice a set of beginner-level back arches that should be accessible by most people.