Discover the powerful effects of yoga backbends with step-by-step instructions, sequences, and expert advice to keep your practice pain-free.
Latest in Yoga Backbends
How to Make Challenging Backbends Easier? Just Add Blocks
Yes, you can learn how to come into intense heart-opening postures without overextending yourself.
Bitilasana is an easy, gentle way to warm up the spine before a more vigorous practice.
You Might Be Approaching Counter Poses All Wrong. Here’s Another Way
You know what happens to a paper clip when you bend it back and forth too many times? Stop doing the same thing to your body.
Upward-Facing Dog Pose
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, a well-known backbend, will challenge you to lift and open your chest.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana can be whatever you need—energizing, rejuvenating, or luxuriously restorative.
Bump up your energy (and confidence!) by bending back into Camel Pose. Ustrasana counteracts slouching and relieves lower back pain with a generous, heart-opening stretch.
Bend back into the shape of a bow to feel energetically locked, loaded, and ready to take aim.
7 Gentle Backbends for Beginners (Or Anyone, Really)
Want all the benefits of a big, heart-opening backbend without the big backbend part? These poses bring the same perks with less strain on your shoulders and low back.
Don’t Just Perform Lord of the Dance. Use Props to Practice It With Intention
Check out Sarah Ezrin's author page.
The Secret to a Powerful, Pain-Free Cobra Stretch
Strength is the secret to a safe backbend. Learn how to activate your abs for support in Cobra Pose.
Props to Help You Explore Lord of the Dance With More Flexibility—And Honesty
Natarajasana is a posture you can choose to "perform" or do with curiosity. And the best way to better observe your movements in this pose is by adding props.
Iyengar 201: Get Ready for Your Deepest Locust Pose Ever…
Check out Carrie Owerko's author page.
8 Innovative Ways to Use a Bolster to Explore Backbends in Your Body
Every single body has its own unique skeletal structure, ranges of motion, and thus expression of a given pose. Here, discover how a bolster can help you make better sense of backbends in your own body.
6 Steps to Master Bridge Pose
Opens your shoulders and chest in Setu Bandha Sarvangasana.
3 Ways to Modify Bridge Pose
Modify Setu Bandha Sarvangasana if needed to find safe alignment in your body.
3 Poses to Prep for One-Legged Inverted Staff Pose
Open your shoulders, chest, and upper back, and practice rooting down through your forearms and lifting your shoulders away from the floor with these prep poses for Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana.
Challenge Pose: One-Legged Inverted Staff Pose
Root your forearms, lift your shoulders, curl your chest open, and extend through your spine and legs as you move step by step into Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana.
A Safe, Core-Supported Backbending Sequence
Move into backbends more safely, knowing you can consciously engage the muscles needed to protect the lumbar spine.
Amy Ippoliti’s New Way to Wheel: A 6-Step Warm-Up
Amy Ippoliti is masterful at breaking poses down into their individual components, making them accessible and beneficial for all levels and body types. Here, her creative and thorough new pathway to Urdhva Dhanurasana.
Target Tight + Weak Spots: A New Way To Do Bow Pose
Alexandria Crows teaches Bow Pose in her "new, backwards way," to target all the tight and weak places that might be holding you back.
17 Poses To Keep You Young In Body + Mind
A feeling of youth, even as you age, requires a flexible spine. In order to stay agile, practice forward bends, backbends, and twists regularly.
The Happiness-Boosting Pose You Need in Your Practice
Feeling discontent, dissatisfied or down? Heart-opening yoga poses, such as Wheel (Upward Bow) Pose, are the perfect Rx.
Ask the Expert: How Can I Protect Myself in Backbends?
Here's how to protect yourself in backbending yoga poses to avoid pain and injury, but still reap the asana benefits.
Pose of the Week: Wheel Pose (Upward Bow)
The following tips and tricks will help you come into Wheel Pose (Upward Bow).
Two Fit Moms’ Heart-Opening Partner Yoga Sequence
Grab a partner and celebrate American Heart Month with this chest-opening sequence from Two Fit Moms.
Pose of the Week: Lord of the Dance Pose With a Strap
Lord of the Dance Pose (Natarajasana) requires foundation, stability, concentration, flexibility, and balanced action -- everything you need as you set out to achieve your goals for the New Year.
Taylor Harkness’s Gratitude-Rockstar Side Plank Pose
Let your appreciation for the people in your life lead in this heart-wide-open variation of Vasisthasana.
Kathryn Budig Challenge Pose: Flip the Grip
Kathryn Budig offers tips for mastering this tricky, awkward handy position for backbends. #nailit
Calming Backbend: Chatush Padasana
Prep for and gradually work your way into Four-Footed Pose.
Bend Back, Feel the Buzz
Practice this energizing sequence of backbends to open the front of the body.
How to Backbend Better
Learn one simple alignment technique and three common poses to ensure pain-free backbends.
Fear No Backbend
There's no doubt about it: Backbending can bring up all your "stuff." Embrace it, and you'll improve both your poses and your life.
Gently open the chest-opening and backbending sequence.
Yoga for Back Pain + 5 Poses to Try
Free yourself from ordinary back pain by doing these 5 simple poses each day.
Root Down, Lift Up: Fish Pose
Learn the grounding and backbending actions of Fish Pose for focus, energy, and a mood boost.
There's a great divide among yoga teachers about the correct way to use the glutes in backbends. Get the backstory.
Learn to Backbend Better: Locust Pose
The best preparation for a big backbend is a baby one. Locust Pose works the actions and strength needed for bigger bends.
One poetic translation of Camatkarasana means "the ecstatic unfolding of the enraptured heart."
Advanced Backbends Are Within Reach
Approach advanced backbends with skillful sequencing, working the key components, and you'll feel the benefits.
The Most Versatile Backbend: Bridge Pose
One of yoga's most versatile backbends, Bridge Pose can fire you up or cool you down depending on what you need.
Get Down With Up Dog
Use your breath to open your chest and backbend mindfully into Upward-Facing Dog Pose.
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana II allows you to stretch the entire front body and deep into the hip flexors to strengthen your back and improve posture.
Check out Julie Gudmestad's author page.
Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose
Can you practice Wheel with straight arms and Headstand without strain? Then, you're ready.
King Pigeon Pose
Kapotasana invigorates your body and gives your spirits a lift. This extremely deep backbend is appropriate for advanced practitioners only.
Half Frog Pose
Ease up into Half Frog Pose, called Ardha Bhekasana in Sanskrit. This pose strengthens the back while gently opening up the shoulders, chest, and thighs—a loving treat for the entire body.
Sphinx Pose is the infant of backbends. It can be practiced with either an active or passive approach.
Counteract Tech Hunch: Camel Pose
Open your chest and stretch your entire front body in Camel Pose to improve posture and lift your mood.
Begin with the Baby Backbends: Cobra Pose
Before you go for big backbends, master the basics.
Face Fear in Backbends
Backbends can bring up resistance and fear. But facing it with regular, safe practice, they begin to feel fab.
Tips for Camel Pose + Relieving Pain in the Upper Back
Natasha Rizopoulos shares her tips for camel pose—to improve the pose and relieve pain in the upper back.
Building Your Bridge to the Self
Richard Rosen explains the meaning of bridges in yoga philosophy, shedding new light on Bridge Pose.
Wake Up Your Body and Mind with Bridge Pose
Great for beginners, Bridge Pose preps you for bigger backbends and brings you into the present moment.
Dancer Pose | Lord of the Dance Pose
Dance with cosmic energy in this challenging yet graceful balancing pose that relies on equal parts effort and ease.
Salabhasana or Locust Pose effectively preps beginners for deeper backbends, strengthening the back of the torso, legs, and arms.
Boost the body's energy and fight fatigue with Fish Pose, or Matsyasana in Sanskrit, while building confidence with a loving stretch in the shoulders. It is said that if you perform Matsyasana in water, you will be able to float like a fish.
Wheel Pose | Upward-Facing Bow Pose
Need an energy boost? Urdhva Dhanurasana can help—and strengthen your arms, legs, abdomen, and spine in the process.
By providing a conscious opening in the chest and stretch in the shoulders, Cobra Pose, called Bhujangasana in Sanskrit, fights fatigue and relieves lower back pain, boosting both the energetic and the physical body.
Your Counterpose for Everyday Life
You spend most of your life in forward bends. Give your body the backbend it craves with bridge pose.