This session aims to prepare for backbends by bringing opening to the upper thoracic and the shoulders to facilitate stability and lift in the poses. We also work here to form a good base from the legs through the early backbend actions (Salabhasana, done a different way, and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana).
The sequence starts with Supta Baddha Konasana lying back over a few stacked blankets. Come up into forward Virasana and then stand for Tadasana and a few arm variations (Baddanguliyasana, Garudasana, and Paschima Namaskar) to start to work into the shoulders, arms, and upper back. This prepares you for Full Arm Balance (Adho Mukha Vrksasana) and Headbalance (Sirsasana), or ways to modify those poses as you gain experience.
We explore with more detail how to bring connection into the upper back and into the pelvis with Urdhva Mukha Svanasana first from Dog Pose and then with two blocks for further chest and shoulder opening. Bhujangasana, from just being on the forearms to the full pose to continue on the upper thoracic opening. Salabhasana follows to help strengthen and bring awareness to the paraspinal muscles. This leads you into Dhanurasana, or modification, Ustrasana to start to go deeper into the upper back, and then Chatushpadasana which brings legs and arms actions together before coming into full Urdhva Dhanurasana, using blocks in different ways for different needs.
Cooling down through Uttanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, and Supta Padangusthasana with bricks for the outer thighs. These are given to release the back and to quieten the breath. We finish with legs up the wall on brick support and Savasana.
Illustrated sequence of video
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