Backbend poses are a great addition to your yoga routine. Not only do they improve spine flexibility and posture, backbends also combat anxiety and stress, stretch the ab muscles, help ease back pain, as well as increase oxygen levels.

Try this series of backbend poses to take your yoga practice to the next level.


  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat.
  • Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. Exhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
  • Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone, holding your buttocks off the floor. Do not squeeze your glutes or flex your buttocks.
  • Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor beneath your pelvis. Straighten your arms as much as possible, pressing your forearms into the mat. Reach your knuckles toward your heels.
  • Keep your thighs and feet parallel — do not roll to the outer edges of your feet or let your knees drop together. Press your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
  • Hold for up to one minute. To release, unclasp your hands and place them palms-down alongside your body. Exhale as you slowly roll your spine along the floor, vertebrae by vertebrae. Allow your knees to drop together.

(WARNING: Do not perform bridge pose if you have a neck or shoulder injury.)


  • Kneel and place your knees hip-distance apart. Keep the butt muscles relaxed while pressing the shins and tops of the feet into the floor.
  • Inhale and bring the palms of the hands to the lower back, pointing your fingers down to the floor.
  • On your exhale, tuck your chin toward your chest and lean back.
  • If allowed, continue by reaching the fingertips back toward your heels. Rest the palms of the hands on your heels. The fingertips should point toward your toes. Breathe.
  • Keep the thighs parallel to each other and the hips directly over the knees. If you feel discomfort in your low back, tuck your toes to elevate your heels.
  • Keep pressing the front body towards the front of the room with your chest lifted towards the sky. Squeeze the shoulder blades together while keeping the head neutral.
  • Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds. To release the pose, inhale and bring your hands back to your front hips. Inhale and push your hips to the floor. Bring your head up last. Flow into Child’s Pose to counter the backbend movement.

Upward Bow or Wheel (challenge yourself:)

Upward Bow

Lie comfortably on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Position your heels as close to your bottom as possible. Bend your elbows and place your palms on the floor beside each ear. Your fingers should be poiting toward your shoulders.

On your exhale, push your pelvis to the sky, gently squeezing and lifting the butt off the floor. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel to each other. Stay in this position for 2 to 3 breaths. Inhale and exhale, pressing the palms into the floor. Lift and rest the crown of your head on the floor. Take another 2 or 3 breaths.

With an exhalation, lift your head off the floor and straighten your arms. Keeping the legs parallel, continue lifting the pelvis higher. Keep your weight evenly distributed as you spread the shoulder blades across the back and let the head hang. Fix your gaze on the floor.

Breathe into the pose for 5 to 10 seconds or more. Repeat as desired.

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