“BACK” – Which part of the body exactly?

n1In order to understand, what idea the term “BACK” invokes in one’s mind, I put forth this question to all my acquaintances. To my surprise, none of them were able to precisely or correctly identify the said area. In fact, majority of them pointed out to the lumbar region. Lumbar refers to the lower part of the back which is prone to ailments like sciatica, slip disc, backache, back spasm, back stress etc. Since these terms have managed to occupy an almost permanent place in our normal life and are connected with lumbar region, many of them found it easy to associate “back” with that area, I guess.

“Back” definitely refers to the posterior part of our body and includes the areas from the top of the buttock to the back of the neck and shoulder. So, loosely, we can say that human back refers to the whole spine.

Though mostly used synonymously, backward bending & back bending are not the same.

Backward Bending Back bending
1 Backward bending is a whole body arch involving each and every part of your body from toes to the fingertips. Back bending is extension of backward bending which deepens the bend mostly by involving the lower back.
2 The tension can be felt throughout especially in the front side of the body. The tension is mostly concentrated at the lower back.
3 Backward bending, done correctly help strengthen one’s back. You must have a strong back and abdominal muscle to perform this.
4 Your head is upright and in alignment with the rest of the vertebrae. Head is falling back and is very much in gravitational grip.
5 Knees are almost locked (slight micro bending). There is bending at the knee.

In short, one needs to graduate from backward bending to back bending. Trying back bending before mastering backward bend (especially in case of stiff back) can lead to back injuries.

For any query, write to “Ask Shammi” on www.shammisyogalaya.com For other blogs on related subject, check www.shammisyogalayablog.com


Shammi GuptaShammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.