In this third class of the advanced-level term, we will be looking at backbends and at interesting new ways of approaching them. We often talk about how in yoga, even our bodies can be used as props. Well, in today’s practice we will be treating this idea much more literally since, later on in the class, we will introduce a pose that can be done in tandem with a partner, using each other for support as we strive to balance each other out in the backbend.
The class will be broken down into three stages. First, we will work on strengthening our foundations through a short sequence of standing poses with the back heel to the wall. This will give us a chance to energize the legs, lengthen the spine, and open up the hips: all of this can go a long way towards improving the quality of our backbends.
After the standing poses, we will do a few Sirsasana variations, thus waking up the muscles in the upper back and shoulders — this will help us increase our range of motion when going into the backbends. Then, after a short back-and-forth from Adho Mukha Svanasana into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, we will get into the main part of the class, where we will go through a wide variety of backbends done in slightly modified ways in order to bring a new perspective to our practice.
We will round the class off with a cooling inversion — Halasana — in order to calm the nervous system before settling down into our final relaxation in Savasana.