A reason why backbends are also known as “heart openers,” apart from them literally opening your rib cage, is during a backbend your heart is receiving a really great stretch. By stretching your heart you are also increasing its efficiency to pump blood. The better the pump, the better the beat, the healthier you are, the longer you live. Think about someone who is sad, lonely, or depressed—they tend to sit with their shoulders slouched, caving their body inward. Without knowing it, they are making their heart area recede into their chest, thus constricting their heart and closing it off from the world. In this day and age we all feel emotional pain every now and then, whether it be from grieving over a lost loved one or as simple as seeing something sad on the news. Because this is a natural part of life, you do need to practice caring for the area around your heart and assisting it to be open & healthy. In doing so, backbends will help you to remain in tune to your emotional and spiritual self. It allows you to be as open as possible to receive and give love to the world regardless of the emotional challenges we all face.