There are many ways to move our bodies. Backbending is one way that is unique to the practice of yoga. There aren’t many other physical systems that incorporate regular backbending like yoga does. It is important to have range of motion in all directions but this can be dangerous if taken too far. It is even more so the case with backbends. Although there can be a great payoff for backbending done safely and thoroughly, there are also many risk factors. It is important that we don’t collapse into our low back or neck. These are parts of the spine that usually already take the lion’s share of movement. When we bend backward we try to work on lengthening the mid-back (thoracic spine) and moving outward from there. Pushing too hard or forcing will usually always wind up in injury for this type of movement so be careful to stay within your own limitations. Know that mild backbending is completely sufficient for a healthy body. The deep backward arching that we see people doing on magazine covers and calendars are completely unnecessary for a vibrant spine.