July Practice Series: Deepen Your Practice—New Light on Backbends with Julie Gudmestad

Dump the Slump! Deepen Your Backbends to Improve Posture

The amount of time we spend sitting in chairs closes up our front body: our hips flex at a right angle; our arms stay low, which tightens our shoulders; our diaphragm is compressed; our chest dropped; and our mid-back flexed. It’s no wonder we face a challenge with backbends! In this video, Julie guides you through a practice to open up the front body and stretch out all those tight areas. This practice places an emphasis on careful preparatory poses to prevent hyperextending the neck or causing low back pain.

Activating and Strengthening the Hip Extensors

While we focus a lot about the hip flexors in yoga, we rarely hear about the hip extensors. But the action and strength of the hip extensors (particularly gluteus maximus) are vitally important in certain poses, particularly backbends. In this 40-minute class, Julie guides us through a practice showing how to strengthen the hip extensors and engage them properly in backbends.

New Light on Camel Pose—Ustrasana

In this 60-minute class, Julie guides us through a heart-opening sequence that culminates in Ustrasasana, Camel Pose. We will work on opening the front of the shoulders, the hip flexors, and stretching the quads as part of preparing the body for full Camel Pose. This is also an excellent class for improving posture and counteracting the all too common forward slump.