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Preparatory backbend sequence to build your ability

A series of preparatory backbends to get your spine ready for more advanced backbends.

Contents

Introduction

Preparatory backbends help to get your spine and back muscles ready. Build your foundation to learn the areas of your body that need to be used for full backbends. You won’t be going up into the full bridge pose. It’s a great sequence when you want the feeling of backbends without going to through a full cycle.

We start in Supta Baddha Konasana before moving into Upward Dog, and Downward Dog on the breath. Then we move to Half-Utthanasana with hands to the wall. We open the upper back and shoudlers with hands to Urdhva Badanguliasana and Namasakar.

We then move to Headstand Preparation followed by full Salamba Sirasana (Headbalance). We follow this with 2 repetitions of a cycle of poses: Urdhva Hastasana, Utthanasana, Adho Mukha Svansana (downward dog), Utthanasana, Urdhva hastasana.

We move to another cycle: a movement between Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward dog) and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (upward dog).

Salabasana variation follows, then full Salabasana.

We move into Ustrasana, then Ustrasana with the support of a bolster and then Setu Bandha Sarvangasana with and without the support of a block.

Chatush Padasana is repeated 3 times without support, once with a brick to extend the lower back. Pixie guides you through using Utthanasana with a brick to release the lower back and Virasana forwards over a brick.

We finish the sequence with Ardha Halasana (Half halasana) and Savasana.

View sequence

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 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.
Half Uttanasana
Half Forward Bend
Stand in front of a wall. Keeping your back and legs straight, tip from your pelvis until your chest is parallel to the ground. Push your hands into the wall and stretch your hips backwards.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Preparatory backbend sequence to build your ability
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.
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.
Preparatory backbend sequence to build your ability
Diamond Pose
Sit in a kneeling position with the feet together right beneath the buttocks.
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.
Preparatory backbend sequence to build your ability
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.
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.
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
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.
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.