Spine-opening poses are a great way to foster your creative energy. I love doing backbends and twists to improve the fluidity of my core, back, and heart. When the body is more open, the mind is freer. Also, every twist and inversion promotes circulation, aiding your body’s natural detoxification. Try this Yoga Sequence for Creativity to bring lightness and vitality to your day.
1. Warrior Backbend with Eagle Arms. Come into Warrior One, right let in front. Take your left arm under your right, and twist arms together into eagle arms. Clasp your hands together if possible. You should feel a stretch in the middle of your upper back. Increase the opening of your spine by coming into a slight backbend, keeping your hips parallel. Stay in this pose for a few breaths, breathing into your upper back. Repeat on the other side.
2. Kneeling backbend (kapotasana variation). Come on to your knees and place your hands on your hips. Ease yourself into a gentle backbend. If you’re able, bring your hands to your ankles or the floor. Breathe deeply, and only go as far as feels comfortable. To come out of the pose, walk your hands up your legs, and use your core to raise your your torso vertebra by vertebra. Rest in child’s pose. The kneeling backbend serves as a counter pose to Warrior Backbend with Eagle Arms since it focuses on opening your heart. This pose also opens the entire spine from the crown all the way down to your pelvis.
3. Backbend on Elbows (Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana or inverted staff pose). Lie on your back with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Place your hands on either side of your head, palms facing down and fingers pointing towards your feet. Exhale and slowly rise into a simple backbend. To deepen the pose, come down to your elbows (one elbow at a time) and lengthen your legs. To come out of the pose, return to the simple backbend one hand at a time then lower your hips to the ground. This inversion promotes circulation to the entire upper body while increasing flexibility in the spine.
4. Seated twist. Sit on the ground with your left leg folded under your right. Your left leg should rest on the ground while your right knee should be pointing towards the sky. Support yourself with your right hand as you raise your left arm and twist your torso towards the right. Bring your left arm to the outside of your right thigh. If possible, loop your left hand through the gap between your legs and clasp your right hand behind your back. Repeat on the other side. This twist is great for improving flexibility in the lower spine and core.
Photos: Mary Hood