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Building stability and focus in backbends

Contents

Introduction

Backbends help us to feel and to find the back of our bodies. The back is often an unknown area as it can’t be seen. And yet to create a more complete sense of ourselves, we use yoga to experience our whole body and to create a fuller awareness of how to be balanced.

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Supta Virasana
Reclining Hero Pose
Lay on your back with your legs bent, your toes pointing backward.
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.
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.
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.
Building stability and focus in backbends
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.
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.
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.
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.
Building stability and focus in backbends
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.
Supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Supported Bridge Pose
Lie down over support placed under the whole of your body from the thoracic spine down to your knees. The shoulders swoop down to touch the floor. Spread your arms outward or slightly at your side. Activate your feet and press them into the wall.
Savasana
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.