Backbends | 10 minutes | Level 2-3
A challenging slow flow, to be done in the middle of a practice once you have fully warmed up, and only to be done by experienced practitioners who have a strong and flexible back. You need to warm up the body - especially the spine, back muscles, quads and hamstrings - before you do this. Getting your foot to the back of your head does NOT make you more ‘advanced’ at yoga!
Before I did this I had done 30 minutes of postures to build up to it. First, seated warm-ups (neck, spinal rotation, hips, legs). Then standing postures working on hip flexion and extension, hamstrings, quads, backbends and opening the shoulders. E.G. Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana and Urdhva Mukka Svanasana, and opening the shoulders, such as Anjaneyasana, Virabhadrasana I and II, Trikonasana, lots of Downward Dogs. Then I did this, with the backbends getting progressively deeper and lots of forward folds in between - especially Prasarita Padottanasana - to decompress the spine and rest the nervous system. I was breathing steadily and consciously throughout - once you get to the deeper ones at the end you have to, as they take a lot of balance and focus!
After the long Paschimottanasana at the end I did some supine twists then laid in a long Savasana.