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There are eight students in the class, nearly all of them with a back issue—from scoliosis to fused vertebrae to pinched nerves to inexplicable spasms—and they are getting ready to do back bends. Julie Brandwein, their teacher for the hour-long back care class at Yoga Union Center for Backcare and Scoliosis instructs them to sit up tall and imagine a pencil running from one ear to another. “Tip your head forward from that place,” she tells them—rather than from the neck or the cervical spine. From the beginning of class, Brandwein, who also teaches at Yogasana in Brooklyn, wants her students to understand that while the name “back bend” implies a bending of the back, it’s really a lengthening of the spine and strengthening of the supporting muscles that needs to happen.