Backbends | 30 minutes | Level 2

Backbending joy! I do 💛 a backbend. This is an unplanned sequence I did one morning this week (forgive the poor quality video and lack of a lovely yoga studio - it’s what you call keeping it real!). This is level 2. This is not a tutorial. It’s one for you to practise along with me if you know what you’re doing. There are warm-ups (lots of Bhujangasana, Balasana, Downward Dog repeated movement) but them I go into a full-on Anjeyanasana (Low Lunge with backbend), so you need a good level of strength and flexibility in your back already. It has advanced asana at the end (pushing up into Ustranasana; Eka Pada Rajakopatasana with the foot to head; Dandasana dropping back to Urdhva Dhanurasana). Do NOT try this unless your body is used to it and you already know correct alignment!

If your body is not ready for this, practise the postures at the beginning of it first for several weeks or months until you can comfortably move on to the more advanced. Some may take years (they did me). Practise, practise, practise! And patience, patience, patience! And breathing. Keep your awareness on your breath in every posture, and if you lose control of your breath you’ve gone too far.

Work on shoulder strength and rotation if you want to do the more advanced asanas at the end. Don't just do backbends! You need spinal length and extension (e.g. Adho Mukka Svanasana) as well as flexion, and strengthening (e.g. Dhanurasana). You need hip flexion and extension, arm elevation and extension, hip opening for the Eka Pada Rajakopotasana I have near the end, and spinal twists to warm up the spine then help decompress it after backbends. I threw in a cheeky Prasarita Padottonasana as it's a lovely way to decompress the spine letting gravity do the work. I laid in Savasana for 10 minutes at the end as this is only 25 minutes but it’s fairly full-on! .

Feel that you are stretching and strengthening without straining or forcing the body or the breath. Breathe natural easy breaths. Enjoy! Om shanti!