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Backbends for general level students

A session aimed at preparing the body for backbends.

Contents

Introduction

A fortifying backbend session for general level students looking for a sequence that will help them strengthen their foundations and maintain their understanding of the key backbend asanas. Due to its dynamic and full nature, this is a sequence that can be returned to regularly.

It is important to incorporate backbend sequences into your yoga routine since backbends bring about many benefits that can be appreciated when we practise other asana types. For example, backbends can increase flexibility in the whole back of the body, including the hamstrings. They can also help relieve tension in the body, especially in the spine, as well as making it less prone to accumulating tension due to increased flexibility. A strong and flexible body usually means good posture, which is another reason including backbend sequences in your regular practice is such a good idea.

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Supta Baddhakonasana
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Join your feet together, your heels pressed to your pelvis. Lie back over a bolster or other form of support. Relax and let your chest open. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
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.
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.
Urdhva Baddanguliyasana
Upward Salute with Interlocked Fingers
Stretch your arms in front of you and interlock your fingers. Turn your palms inside out and lift your arms up overhead, making sure to keep your shoulders open. Change the interlock of your fingers and repeat.
Garudasana
Eagle Pose
Sit your hips back into Utkatasana (Chair Pose). Cross one leg over the other and balance. Then, cross your arms at the elbows so that both your pinkies are pointing forwards. Then try to lift your hands to capacity while keeping your shoulders level and chest open.
Paschima Namaskar
Reverse Prayer Pose
Stand in Tadasana and spread your arms outward. Then bring your hands behind your back, join your palms together, and walk them up to capacity. If you lack wrist mobility, you can also simply grab hold of your elbows.
Urdhva Hastasana
Upward Salute
Keep your shoulders open and stretching away from your ears as you externally rotate your arms and lift them up above your head. Resist the urge to tip backwards, maintain the Tadasana line.
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.
Backbends for general level students
Handstand 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 collarbones, 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.
Adho Mukha Vrksasana
Handstand
Open your hands into the floor and strengthen your arms as you lift your body up, one leg at a time, into an inverted balance. Use the wall for support if necessary. If pushing yourself up proves to be too difficult, you can walk your feet up the wall.
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 and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
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.
Salamba Sirsasana Wall Support
Headstand 1
Activate your shoulders and upper back muscles as you lift your body up into inverted balance. Use the wall for support if necessary.
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.
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Upward-Facing Dog Pose
Point your toes backward and activate your arm muscles as you lift the front of your body up off the floor. Keep your hips and thighs firmly grounded. Open your chest and shoulders.
Backbends for general level students
Cobra Pose
Keep your hips pressed firmly into the floor, your kneecaps pointing straight down, and your toes reaching back. Place your hands right beneath your shoulders and, activating them, lift your chest up off the floor.
Backbends for general level students
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.
Dhanurasana
Bow Pose
As you lie on your belly grab a hold of your feet from behind. Pull the feet as close to your head as possible, bending back to capacity.
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.
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.
Urdhva Dhanurasana
Wheel Pose
Root yourself through your feet and hands as you lift your body up off the floor. You can walk your hands and feet towards each other to capacity.
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 and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Supta Padangusthasana I
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Press your back body into the floor, point the kneecap and toes of your supine leg toward the ceiling, as you extend the other leg up over your hip. Use a belt if needed.
Supta Padangusthasana II
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Lie down on your back. Point kneecap and toes on your left leg upward, as you stretch your right leg out to the side. Use a belt if necessary. Change sides.
Viparita Karani
Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
Bring your hips up to the wall and lift your legs up. You can use a bolster or other form of support under your hips and lumbar spine to incorporate a mild backbend into the pose.
Savasana
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.