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Backbend sequence to develop your foundations

A sequence aimed at teaching your how to go deeper into your backbends.

Contents

Introduction

This class focuses on backbends in the Iyengar method and is intended for students that have completed a beginners course at a certified Iyengar yoga studio. Pixie Lillas guides students with 3-9 months experience through a series of simple backbend poses. The class allows you to build on the work that you would have already done in a beginners course.

We start out in Supta Swastikasana, reclining over a bolster, Virasana forwards, Uttanasana and Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dogpose).

We move to Adho Mukha Vrksasana (full arm balance) preparation with the feet to the wall. Then come standing poses: Trikonasana, Viriabhadrasana 1, Parsvottanasana and Prasarita Paddotanasana with concave spine to prepare the upper back.

We move to headstand preparation, including walking the feet up the wall. We repeat Adho Mukha Svanasana (dogpose) and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (downward dog) twice before moving into the backbend sequence:

  • Shalabasana
  • Makarasana
  • Dhanurasana
  • Ustrasana
  • Chatushpadasana
  • Setu Bandha with a block

We start wind down the sequence and release the back. Firstly Virasana forwards, Adho Mukha Svasana (dogpose) then on to Halasana with bent knees with chair support, simple cross-leg forwards to the chair. We finish in Savasana.

View sequence

Supta Swastikasana
Simple Cross Legs Lying Back
Cross your legs and lie back over support or straight onto your mat.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your head on the floor or on a block.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body while lifting your hips up as high off the ground as possible. If necessary, bend your knees a little but stay strong in the legs.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Backbend sequence to develop your foundations
Hand Stand Preparation
Stand a couple of feet away from the wall with your back to it. Fold into Uttanasana and plant your hands on the floor. Then, activate your arms, open up your shoulders, and walk your feet up the wall until your legs are parallel to the floor.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Utthita Trikonasana
Extended Triangle Pose
Keep the toes and kneecap of your left leg pointed forward and, keeping your spine straight and long, stretch over your leg. Place your left hand on your ankle or on a block next to your foot. Look up towards your extended right arm.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Virabhadrasana I
Warrior I Pose
Angle your back foot outward slightly and straighten your back leg. Lift from your navel up, bring your arms up, and lengthen through the crown of your head. Make sure your front knee and toes are aligned and pointing straight forward.
Parsvottanasana
Intense Side Stretch Pose
Place your feet one leg-length apart, your back foot angled out slightly. Keep your legs straight as you start to fold over your front leg, maintaining a concave spine for as far into the bend as possible.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Head Down)
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Plant your feet as wide apart as you can. Place your hands on the floor and lengthen forward through your spine. Once you have achieved the concave spine, start to walk your hands backward to capacity, aiming to lengthen and release your spine as evenly as possible.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Headstand Preparation with Blocks
Headstand Preparation
Place your forearms flat on the floor next to a wall and interlock your fingers behind the back of your skull. Keeping your head on the floor and your back straight, start to walk your feet closer toward your trunk. Straighten your back and pull your hips up to capacity. This can also be done with your feet to the wall.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your head on the floor or on a block.
Mini Salute to the Sun Cycle
Start in Tadasana. As you inhale, raise your arms up to the ceiling. As you exhale, fold over into Uttanasana. Walk your feet out into Adho Mukha Svanasana, stretch the back of your body, lift your hips up to capacity. Walk your feet back up into Uttanasana and let your spine release downwards. As you inhale, stand back up in Tadasana.
Adho Mukha Svanasana to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Downward Facing Dog into Upward Facing Dog
Start in Adho Mukha Svanasana. As you inhale, shift forward and push yourself up into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. Lift yourself up on your extended arms and point your chest forward.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Backbend sequence to develop your foundations
Locust Pose
Lie down on your belly. Reach your arms back and lift your legs, head, and chest up off the floor as high as possible, using your core strength. Breathe evenly.
Backbend sequence to develop your foundations
Crocodile Pose
Place your hands on the back of your skull and lift your head, chest, and legs off the floor as in Salabhasana.
Ustrasana
Camel Pose
Assume a kneeling position. Then, open your chest and shoulders as you reach back towards your feet. To decrease the intensity of the bend, lay a bolster over your ankles.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Shoulder Supported Bridge
Start by lying down. Press your shoulders into the floor, using them as leverage to lift your hips up to capacity. Use your hands to support your back and allow yourself to go into a deeper stretch. You can also place a block below your lumbar spine for support.
Chatushpadasana
Four-Footed Pose
Lie down with your knees bent so that your feet are close to your buttocks. Grab onto your ankles and lift your hips up above the ground. Open your chest up and breathe.
Backbend sequence to develop your foundations
Supported Bridge Pose with Block
As you lie down, bend your knees and plant your feet close to your buttocks. Lift your hips up evenly and place a block under your sacrum for support.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body while lifting your hips up as high off the ground as possible. If necessary, bend your knees a little but stay strong in the legs.
Virasana Forward into Adho Mukha Svanasana
Forward Facing Hero Pose into Downward Facing Dog Pose
Back and forward transition from Virasana Forward to Adho Mukha Svanasana. Change poses on the breath, attempt to go deeper into each pose with every repetition.
Halasana
Plough Pose
Use support under your shoulders. Keeping your shoulders open, lift your hips up high above your head, dropping your feet down behind you. Place your hands on your back to help keep it from rounding.
Savasana
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.