Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark

Backbends

By Richard Rosen

backbend

Backbends are thought of as poses that open our awareness to the outside world. While the front of the body is being stretched in backbends, (specifically the thighs, front groins, belly, chest and armpits), our attention should continually be focused on the back torso. As you come into a backbend, lift the pubic bone toward the navel and rotate the thighs strongly inward. Keep the buttocks firm (but not tight or squeezed) and keep the tailbone pressed forward, which helps keep the lower back long and protect it from compression.


Backbend Sequence

Total time: 40 to 50 minutes

  1. Virasana (Hero Pose)
    Clasp your hands, stretch the arms straight out in front of you, with the palms facing away from you. Then inhale and stretch the arms up alongside the ears. Hold for one minute. Release, reverse the clasp of the hands (do the non-habitual clasp) and again raise your arms for one minute. Release on an exhalation. (Total time: two minutes)
  2. Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)
    (Total time: two to three minutes)
  3. Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)
    For one to two minutes on each side. (Total time: two to four minutes)
  4. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
    (Total time: one minute)
  5. Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand)
    Perform this pose very close to the wall. Once you have kicked up, press the buttocks and the backs of the legs into the wall, and lift the chest away from the wall. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then press through the arms and reach through heels into the full pose for 30 seconds. (Total time: one minute)
  6. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
    (Total time: one minute) Then step your feet apart for:
  7. Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
    Move into the pose, then walk the bottom hand a few inches behind you so that you have space to come into a backbend in the upper-back. Hold each side for one minute. (Total time: two minutes)
  8. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)
    One minute on each side. (Total time: two minutes)
  9. Purvottanasana (Side Stretch Pose)
    Repeat three times, holding for 30 seconds to one minute each time. (Total time: two to three minutes)
  10. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
    Repeat three times, holding for 30 seconds to one minute each time. (Total time: two to three minutes)
  11. Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
    Repeat three times, holding for 30 seconds to one minute each time. (Total time: two to three minutes)
  12. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
    (Total time: one minute)
  13. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
    (Total time: one minute)
  14. Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow)
    Repeat three to five times, holding for 15 to 30 seconds each time. (Total time: one to three minutes)
  15. Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand)
    Hold for three to five minutes, then drop to:
  16. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
    (Total time: one minute)
  17. Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
    (Total time: 30 seconds to one minute)
  18. Marichyasana III (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Marichi)
    Twist to each side three times, holding each twist for 30 seconds. (Total time: three minutes)
  19. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
    (Total time: 10 minutes)

Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark
Full Name
Address 1
Address 2
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email (req):

Reader Comments

Add a Comment »

Your Name:

Comment:

Stay Connected with Us!

Yoga Journal Live events
ep14 YJ LIVE! Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado
Sep 14-21, 2014
Register
florida YJ LIVE! Florida
Hollywood, FL
Nov 13-17, 2014
Register

More Events

Join Yoga Journal's Benefits Plus
Liability insurance and benefits to support
teachers and studios.
Learn More
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 4 FREE GIFTS
Your subscription includes
Yoga for Neck & Shoulders • Yoga Remedies
Yoga for Headaches • Calm, Cool, Collected
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Yoga Journal
and my 4 FREE downloadable Yoga Booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions