In this post I show you four backbends, along with key tips for alignment, so you can feel more energised and build strength.
For each individual backbend posture there will also be differences and additions relating to other parts of the body which I don’t cover in this post.
What I have listed are the main alignment tips to be aware of when you’re learning how to do backbending.
Remember you don’t have to get these backbends straight away.
Practice regularly with a skillful teacher to help you understand how to do backbends and over time you’ll start to feel them more easily in your body.
4 backbends for energy and strength
- Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
- Camel (Ustrasana)
- Bow (Dhanurasana)
- Wheel / Upward Bow (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
1. Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
2. Camel (Ustrasana)
3. Bow (Dhanurasana)
4. Wheel / Upward Bow (Urdvha Dhanurasana)
Alignment tips common to all backbends
- Roll your inner thighs forward, creating a feeling of length and broadness in your lower back.
- Think about lengthening your spine upwards rather than bending it (the name backbend doesn’t help this confusion).
- Lift your sternum (breast bone).
- Direct the lower tips of your shoulder blades down and into the back as you lift the sternum.
- In upward-facing backbends:
- start with left heel under left knee and right heel under right knee.
- toes are not turned out, big toes are in line with your inner heels, feet are placed in a parallel fashion.
When you’re learning how to do backbends, get yourself a brick-shaped block like I’m using in the photos above. Using a block is a helpful way to show your body how to get into the alignment needed. Purchase your own blocks here.
Learn how to do backbends
There’s a lot more alignment tips I want to offer you. If you’re keen to learn more about how to practice backbends come along to my backbend workshop on Saturday 15 June 2019 in West Byfleet, Surrey, UK.
At the backbending workshop you’ll do a full practice with a thorough warm-up.
The workshop is suitable for all levels of experience, except complete beginners. You won’t need to ‘achieve’ each posture; I will give you modifications to experience backbends at the level your body is ready for.
If you already practice Wheel but not sure you’re doing it right, or want to refine it, this workshop is for you too.