Intermediate Practice: Balancing the Front and Back Body in Back Bends

This practice moves towards some deep back bends which require width across the back so as not crunch the lumbar area. In order to support the extension of the spine, consider the following actions as you work your way through the poses:
  • Allow the scapulae and the clavicles to move with arms to keep the shoulders and chest free.
  • Balance the gluteal wall—the plain of the body that contains gluteus maximus—with the lower abdominal wall. This means keeping them both wide, supple and supportive.
  • Balance the pectoral wall—the plain of the body that contains pectoralis major—with the rhomboid wall—the plain of the body that contains the rhomboids. Again, this means keeping them both wide, supple and supportive.
  • Direct the rhomboid and the gluteal walls towards the legs and the abdominal and pectoral walls towards the head.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head on blocks

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana Arm Variation Cycle:
• Regular arm position.
• Hands turned out so fingertips point away from each other.
• Hands turned in so fingertips point towards each other.
• Hands turned back so fingertips point back, reverse of regular hand position. If you are unable to do this variation, try turning one hand back in the pose at a time.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Bog Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Bog Toe Pose 2)

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) over a chair

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose) Cycle:
[Do each of these poses with a chair set on the mat against the wall.]

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
• Do the pose with the front foot up on the seat of the chair.
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• From Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand), walk the feet down the wall to a middle rope hook, if available, or to the back of the chair. Hold for a few moments then swing the legs back into Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose).
Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)
• Do the pose with the front foot up on the seat of the chair.
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• From Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand), walk the feet down the wall to the back of the chair. Hold for a few moments then swing the legs back into Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose).
Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)
• Do the pose with the front foot up on the seat of the chair.
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
• From Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand), walk the feet down the wall to the seat of the chair. Hold for a few moments then swing the legs back into Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose).

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the calves on the chair


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