The backbend is a popular pose in yoga that utilizes the spine and lower back as it strengthens your upper back, core and legs. Doing the backbend is known to possess multiple benefits including stress relief, boosting energy, and thyroid stimulation. While it looks difficult and even painful, frequent practice will enable your body to adjust to the exercise and consider it a natural movement until mastery.
Learning the backbend might look intimidating for beginners, but slowly going through the processes while paying close attention to form and safety will enable you to get the most out of this unique yet beautiful yoga pose.
How To Do A Full Backbend For Beginners
1. Warm your muscles for at least 10 minutes before attempting a backbend.
As with any exercise, a good warm up can make the difference between a perfect workout day and a trip to the massage therapist. Warming up helps your body prepare itself for physically demanding movements and we guarantee the backbend is tough for newbies. One way to warm up is by performing poses from the Sun Salutation series to activate your muscles and to get the blood flowing throughout the body. Some of the Sun Salutation poses include Mountain pose, Forward Bend, Downward Dog, Cobra and Low Lunge.
2. Lie on your back on a yoga mat. Bend your knees and plant both feet firmly on the ground as close to the glutes/buttocks as possible. Maintain a parallel feet, with at least a hip-width distance between each foot, toes pointing forward.
3. Bend your arms and place your palms on the ground next to each ear. Make sure the fingers all point toward the toes; hands should be shoulder-width apart.
4. Tighten the buttocks and engage the core when you lift the hips upwards, keeping shoulders on the mat. Support your weight with the inner part of your feet. This is to make sure you keep the toes pointing forward rather than flaring out to the side. This position is called the Bridge pose and the first modification of a backbend.
5. When you can hold the Bridge pose for 30 seconds, move on to the next backbend pose. Slide the shoulder blades down the back and tighten them as you push both hands into the ground, slowly lifting your shoulders off the mat. Lay the top of your head on the mat. Support your weight through the inner parts of your hands to avoid them flaring out at the sides.
6. Proceed to Full Wheel by pushing into both hands to straighten both arms and carry the head off the mat. Elevate the navel as high as you can; the more you stretch your arms and legs, the better stretch feeling you will feel. Make sure you fix your eyes down at the mat between your hands at all times.
7. Hold Full Wheel position for about five seconds, slowly working your way up to 20 seconds. Relax and lower the body to the floor slowly to release the pose. Release your back by hugging your knees in toward the chest for at least 30 seconds.