How to do backbend in yoga? Although backbends can fortify the back muscles, stretch the front body and the shoulders, and help you increase the suppleness of your spine, they can also compress the spine and put too much pressure on the lower back, which can be a source of pain. It is thus critical to pay attention to the proper alignment when you are learning how to do backbends.
Moreover, backbends make us move the reverse direction from what we typically do in our daily lives: We tend to be hunched forward in chairs, couches, or when we are staring at our phones and computers. Even when we strive to keep our spine straight, we tend to spend most of our time slouched forward. Backbends move us in the opposite direction.
Therefore, it is a good idea to begin with smaller backbends, like Cobra or Sphinx, and gradually learn how to progress to more advanced backbends, such as Full Wheel or Scorpion. With the Sequence Builder, you can create a yoga sequence that focuses only on backbends.
5 STEPS TO PREPARE YOUR BODY TO DO BACKBENDS
It may not be apparent, but your capacity to perform backbends in yoga is not only reliant on the suppleness of your spine. Frequently, tightness in the hip flexors, shoulders, or side body can impede your posture in yoga backbends.
To make up for this tautness, practitioners tend to exert more force onto the lumbar spine and overstretch their back. This exertion of pressure on the vertebrae can make them come together, which can lead to inflammation over time.
If you want to learn how to do backbends correctly, it is essential to be mindful of any potential dangers. Thus, it is not advisable to dive right in. You need to condition your body first and begin with actions simpler than backbending:
- Stretch your hip flexors.
- Mobilize your shoulders.
- Bend to the sides.
- Engage the back muscles.
- Stretch the sides of your body.
1 – STRETCH YOUR HIP FLEXORS
Begin in the Downward-Facing Dog pose and extend the right leg upward. Turn the thigh inward and set the foot between the palms. Lower the back knee onto the yoga mat with the thigh slightly inward and the foot facing forward. Put both hands on the front thigh and press it away from you to elongate the front body.
Now, bear in mind the following instructions:
- Push the left foot firmly into the yoga mat.
- Move the left hip bone toward the right knee without twisting the knee or the shoulders.
- Push the right knee forward. Move the right sitting bone toward the right heel.
- Pull the pubic bone up. You will now truly feel your left hip flexor.
- Make the side body longer by lifting the shoulders up and slightly back, and raise the chin up and make the neck longer.
- Push the left foot further down until your left knee feels lighter in order to lift it up. Raise your heart to the ceiling.
2 – Mobilize your shoulders
To prepare to perform a backbend, follow these 5 steps:
- Assume a table-top position with the hands under the shoulders and the toes tucked.
- In this position, the hands are under the shoulders and the toes are tucked under. The hands are placed under the shoulders in this position.
- Now, raise the shoulders up and back.
- Then, bring the arms down and repeat the process.
- When performing a backbend, keep the elbows close to the sides.
When you master backbends, you can utilize these motions in Downward-Facing Dog or High Lunge. These movements are recommended when mobilizing your shoulders.
3 – Bend to the sides
From Downward-Facing Dog, kick the right leg through the hands and place the left knee on the ground. Before backbends, bend the body to the sides:
- Position the left arm behind your head, with the palm facing down.
- Rotate your elbow inward, moving the elbow close to your head.
- Bring the right hand to your right thigh and push the leg away from you.
- Begin bowing to the side by bending the elbow in toward your face.
- Pull your shoulder up to widen your turn.
- Push your armpit back to increase the degree of your side bend.
- To achieve a deeper bend, raise the elbow away from your body, i.e. up.
4 – Engage the back muscles
To perform a backbend safely, properly engage the back muscles:
- In Chair pose, begin by lifting the hands up and outwardly rotating the arms at a 90-degree angle.
- Bend the hands at a 90-degree angle, bringing the palms forward and the elbows slightly behind.
- Elevate the feet to engage the back body, imagining you’re doing a pull-up.
- Push the elbows down and push the chest forward and up, as in a pull-up.
Hold the position for a few steady breaths, and then repeat the same movements in a Low Lunge.
- To get into a backbend, step one foot back and place the knee down.
- Pull the back knee and the front heel toward each other, lifting the pubic bone and creating length in the side body.
- Lifting your arms up with outward rotation creates a heart lift.
- Bend the elbows and push them down as you lift the heart and at the same time push them down to keep the elbows bent.
- Don’t breathe as you move toward a deeper backbend. Instead, let your breath guide you toward it. After a few breaths, step the opposite foot forward.
5 – Stretch the sides of your body
A backbend requires stretching the sides of the body. To stretch the sides of the body:
- Put the heels to the right.
- Push the buttocks backward to create a side stretch on the left side of the body.
- Energetically push the left hand away from you and into the yoga mat to intensify the side stretch.
Take a few breaths before dropping your heels to the left side and stretching the right side of the body.
Always remember these five actions while performing yoga backbends. In addition to helping you approach safer backbends and enjoying deeper backbends in yoga, these actions will also help you remain safe and healthy in your spine.
5 YOGA BACKBENDS YOU CAN DO RIGHT AWAY
After learning the basics of backends, it’s time to focus on individual backbends in more detail. Even though a strong yoga backbend like Full Wheel may earn you a lot of likes on Instagram, start with smaller backbends in yoga to familiarize yourself and your body with the action of bending your spine backwards. With patience and persistence, the more advanced backbending poses will naturally become accessible to you.
1 – CHAIR (UTKATASANA)
Yes, Chair pose is also a backbend. Your lower back muscles have to work hard in this pose, as do your thighs. Your lower back muscles are equally engaged. When you sit on a chair behind you, imagine, your arms lift up overhead, your chest lifts, and a gentle backbend occurs. The thighs should be pushed down, inwardly rotated, and the knees kept above the ankles to engage the legs. The lower back stretches out, and the front body shifts its body weight further back and tilters its pelvis forward. The neck slightly bends, but the head shouldn’t drop backward. Rather, lift your chin slightly
2 – COBRA (BHUJANGASANA)
If you think of yoga backbends when you think of Cobra pose, that’s a good sign. It’s a simple backbend that beginners can do and is a fantastic counterbalance to stretch the front of the body. It’s still critical to pay attention to correct alignment in order to avoid back pain even if Cobra pose is a smaller backbend.
The forearms should be vertical and the palms should be next to the ribs. The forearms should be vertical and the palms should be next to the ribs. Point the fingers straight ahead so that the arms are outwardly rotated. Straighten the legs, push the shoulders back, and draw the shoulder blades towards each other. The chin should be lifted but not hyperextended when lifting up the head.
3 – CAMEL (USTRASANA)
Endurance and concentration are required to perform Camel pose, a deeper yoga backbend. The Camel pose is one of the yoga postures that test the mind and body. The main purposes of Camel pose are to build strength and fat. The mind and body must answer the same message when you attempt a Camel pose. If you experience any discomfort, you may be suffering from back pain.
4 – WILD THING (CAMATKARASANA)
Wild Thing, also known as the Rock Star or Flip Dog, is a significant yoga backbend that may increase your strength and self-confidence. According to yoga, it encourages blood circulation and boosts the body’s energy. It is a difficult yoga pose that energizes the body and promotes blood flow.
Sit on the yoga mat with one leg out in front and the other one on the floor, bending the latter one. Place the hand behind the buttocks on the mat. Lift the buttocks up by pressing the foot of the straight leg into the yoga mat. The hip should be lifted further by pushing the leg against the mat. Push the yoga mat away with the other hand. The back muscles should be engaged by placing the other hand on the back of the head and pushing it against the hand.
5 – FULL WHEEL (URDHVA DHANURASANA)
To attempt Full Wheel, you need both strength and stamina. The deep backbend opens up the chest, but also requires a lot of strength and endurance. To get there, begin in a prone position with the palms near the ears and the fingers pointing toward the shoulders. The toes should be firmly grounded in the yoga mat and the thighs inwardly rotated. The hips should rise and create a strong arch throughout the entire spine.
The best way to learn how to do backbends is to practice. All types of yoga are perfect for backbends because backbending is a natural You can start with a pose like Low lunge and work your way up to more advanced backbends depending on your body type,
You can also integrate other poses like seated forward bends into backbends, depending on your goals. More advanced backbends take more time than other poses, but they’re worth the effort because they help you stretch your spine and release tension.
The best way to get better at backbends is to regularly go to a yoga class or find a yoga instructor and practice backbends on a regular basis. If you find it difficult to balance and maintain a straight spine, try practicing backbends sitting down. If you want to practice
These poses can also help you reach the surface of your seventh and eighth chakras. And if you want more practice, use a strap