Backward Bending [base ingredient]

Let us now caste our gaze over the base ingredient [posture] that is backward bending.  A combination of spinal extension and often shoulder flexion;  backward bending is a wholly natural and human activity and you can expect wide ripples of dysfunction in your system if you cannot do it to a certain degree of competence.

If you are old enough, you will remember some truly insane cotton-wooling around this form from numerous physical therapies. Notwithstanding the fact, like with any decent grade fires, you can get *burnt* if you are not prepared adequately.

The backward bend is found in a huge diversity of physical arts and systems: wrestling, contact-improv, dance, circus, yoga, Stretch Therapy, archery, capoeira, bioenergetics,  gymnastics – and more!

Now, the form is the same but it is used very differently in different cuisines. You will also train very different qualities from these different cuisines. I found that many people from dance, circus, yoga or other backgrounds could not initiate even per-preparatory alchemical stretching use of this posture; in spite of ludicrous skills and qualities in other domains. Similarly my body is definitely not currently in the condition where it would enjoy regular suplexii.

If we look at the modifiers [herbs and spices] to the back bend we have firstly the gravitational modifier: boat pose, hanging from a door-frame to stretch and winning a limbo competition all require different orientations of the back bend in space – which means gravity bares down on the body in a completely different way.

Further into the proprioceptive modifiers we find that stationary but active [bridging] feels very different and confers different benefits that passive [backbending over a whale or support]. Rotational and moving bridges [circus and capoeira] again, develop different skill sets and qualities to the organism. Violent and vigorous bridging [wrestling] again, is different.

Then we can add all types of soft tissue ‘sinews’ modifiers into the equation. Some of my favorite work is ‘whale work’ i.e using the Baby Whale, Mother Whale or The Leviathan [sizes of Whales] with intensive soft tissue modifiers within an alchemical stretching cuisine.

This contains a huge array of sensation ‘herbs and spices’, as does the utilization of the bridge and backward bending within contact-improv.

Then there are the oddities: strongmen/women having people stand in towers on their bridges; ‘feet archery’; demon-possessed staircase decent, and limbo competitions.

Within this mileau it is probably good to have your body imbibe this base ingredient within a number of different cuisines. A number of the uses of this form are exceptional when we add that special saphron ‘spice’ that is breathing into the mixture.

A lot of adults do not have this pattern in even a rudimentary way. As with the chin up, and a few other choice exercises – getting a person a solid back bend, when they originally had none, normally has a extremely positive and far ranging impact upon the multi-faceted nature of being human [not just the physical traits].

It must be repatterned in a strategic and systematic way – but it is amongst the most powerful basic physical transformations you can enact for someone. Some lucky people, like myself, have just always had full bridge. I dunno, one day whilst eating a Vegemite sandwich as a young boy I just decided to do a bridge and nothing prohibited me from doing so.  It happens. I liked exploring my bodies capacities, and as many kids find out – bridging is just innately fun! The clouds are the ground, and the ground is the sky!

So if you do not have a bridge currently, consider adding it as an opus to work towards. If you have one or two versions, there are others. In part two of the PA note on backbending [later], I will go into the qualities in a bit more detail.