Freedom, majestic, wow. These are the words that accompany a photo of a yogi in a Standing Backbend. Reaching toward the ground from where we draw roots, heart open toward all that is ahead. Standing Backbend is a powerful, stunning expression.
Here are some tips and tools to get you into Standing Backbend.
First of all, let’s look at the necessary components of this posture. The legs are rooted into the earth. While standing strong and tall, the feet are energized. The tailbone descends to protect the lower back. The frontal abdominals are stretching up. The shoulders draw down the back.
The heart and chest are lifted and open. There is space between the head and back of the shoulders so that the neck can stay lengthened.
In order to find your fullest expression of a Standing Backbend, it is best to warm up thoroughly and then work up to the pose by stretching and strengthening the areas of the body that contribute to the asana.
Strengthen the Legs
The first necessary element for this pose is strong legs. So work on asana that will help strengthen the quads and make you feel grounded on the earth.
Utkatasana (Chair Pose), Warrior poses, and balance postures are all helpful.
Next, stretch the quads. Lunges, Warrior I, and Hanumanasana (splits) will all be beneficial here.
Open the Shoulders
Opening the shoulders is also very important when working up to Standing Backbend, so that you can get that beautiful, open form in the pose.
Cow Face Pose, Eagle Pose, interlacing the fingers behind the back and folding forward, and Bridge Pose with the fingers interlaced are all suggested here.
Open the Heart
Heart openers and abdominal stretches are good to practice, as well. Making sure you have the necessary flexibility in your front body will help you lift up into the pose, so that your back stays safe while in the asana.
Bridge Pose, Camel Pose, Crescent Lunge, Reverse Warrior, and Reverse Triangle can be all be beneficial.
When working your way up to any peak pose, it is best to break down the movement into segments. Think about what each part of the body is doing in the pose. What is stretching? What is engaging? Then tailor your practice accordingly. This way when you finally get to your goal pose, the body will be primed and ready.
Challenging poses should be challenging for the mind too, not just the body. They are an opportunity to get creative in your sequencing and to really be attentive to how the body works. This is yet another way that yoga helps us discover who we are.
Do you love practicing Standing Backbend? Share your tips on how to build up to this awesome peak pose with us below!