A backbending sequence for beginning students

adho mukha svan with real dog

This week’s clan of poses at our studio are Purva Pratana Sthiti (backward extensions) commonly referred to as “backbends.” Where foward bends “cool” the nervous system, backbends “heat” or energize the nervous system. Here is my lesson plan for tomorrow’s Basic I class designed for people new to yoga or who want to rework the fundamentals.

Tadasana/Urdvha Hastasna (Mountain pose with upward facing hands)

urdvha hastasana

Utkatasana (Fierce Pose)

utkatasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana at wall (Downward facing dog pose)

penn studio

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I pose)

vira I

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four limbed staff pose)

chaturanga

Bujanngasana I (Cobra I pose) notice how arms are straight

bhunjagasana

Urdvha Mukha Svanasana (Upward facing dog pose)

urdvha mukha svanasana

Salabhasana I (Locust I pose)

salabhasana

Ustrasana (Camel pose)

ustrasana

Chatuse Padasana (Four Footed Pose) note use of the strap to learn arm rolling out action

Chatuse padasana 9

Adho Mukha Svanasana arms and legs mat width to neutralize spinal muscles

wide ams

Savasana

savasana

This sequence gradually contracts the back muscles which are released with the wide Adho Mukha Svanasna, so please don’t omit this pose from the sequence.  It is ill advised to do a deep forward bend immediately after a backbend. Why? Think of the spine as a wire hanger. If you bend a wire hanger back and forth it will break. Whereas if you bend it in the same direction, it gets stronger. If the back is tender after this sequence elevate legs on a chair or up the wall.

Have a wonderful practice!

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