If we don’t do backbends, our posture will be wrong. Our neck will come forward and start to cause other problems like back pain, slip disc, sciatica, and poor breathing habits.
A backbend is an essential component of a balanced yoga routine. They help build strength and flexibility, which in turn improves your overall health.
This article will answer what Backbends are, what benefits they offer practitioners, and give a list of yoga backbend poses and tips on safely executing them.
What are Yoga Backbends?
Yoga backbends are a series of yoga poses that work the back, hips, and legs. Backbends open the heart and relieve stress.
A backbend helps lengthen tight muscles in your spine while strengthening them at the same time.
The primary purpose of backbends is to increase flexibility by stretching the hamstrings, increasing hip flexibility, and opening the chest and shoulders, which leads to better breathing techniques.
Backbends should be balanced with equal amounts of forwarding bends. Bending backwards might be more challenging to work on when you spend your days seated at a desk or have a condition that causes continual low-back pain.
There’s a wide range of poses that everyone can practice.
What are the benefits of backbends?
- Strengthens the back muscles
- Stretches the hip flexors
- Increases circulation
- Boosts mood
- Activates prana life-force energy
- Opens up the shoulders and chest
- Stimulates the heart chakra
- Alleviates back pain
- Improves posture
- Improves breathing
Yoga Backbend Poses
Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
This pose is excellent for stretching your upper and lower back and opening up the chest. In addition, this pose is a great way to combat poor posture, which can affect breathing and circulation.
- Helps with your overall flexibility and balance
- Increases lung capacity
- Strengthens the lower back muscles
- Opens your chest and lungs
Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
It is a pose that opens up the back as well as the chest. The chest will get opened up while the hamstrings are stretched out and strengthened.
This pose targets the lower back muscles and works to elongate those areas. Highly efficient in alleviating stress and headaches, this asana can be performed by beginners as well.
- Improves flexibility of the shoulder, spine, and hamstrings
- Helps in relieving stress and anxiety
- Improves concentration
- Decreases a feeling of low energy
- Opens the lungs and reduces thyroid problems
- Helpful in asthma, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis
Dhanurasana (Bow pose)
Dhanurasana is a yoga posture that looks like the shape of a bow. It’s also part of the Padma Sadhana sequence.
- Helps fight off stress
- Strengthens the legs and hips as well as the back and shoulders
- Increases blood flow to the brain
- Improves flexibility of the spine and hips
- Relieves menstrual discomfort and constipation
- Stimulates the reproductive organs
- Helps people with renal (kidney) disorders
Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
It is an excellent pose for increasing flexibility while at the same time toning your legs and abs. Salabhasana is best to perform during a hot yoga class.
This asana helps alleviate lower back pain while also helping to improve posture.
- Aids in digestion by improving the liver and digestive system
- Tones the abdominal muscles as well as the back and chest muscles.
- Tones and balances the functioning of the liver, stomach, bowels, and other abdominal organs.
- Relief from backache, mild sciatica, and slipped disc if the condition is not severe.
- Improves appetite and digestion
- Tones the hip muscles.
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
There is an asana comparable to a serpent elevating its hood. Bhujangasana is a part of the Padma Sadhana and Surya Namaskar sequences.
- Strengthens abdominal muscles
- Opens shoulders and chest
- Stretches the thighs and hamstrings
- Improves flexibility of the upper and middle back
- Improves blood circulation
- Reduces fatigue and stress
- Useful for people with respiratory disorders such as asthma
Fish Pose— Matsyasana
It is a posture that has many benefits and takes time to master. However, it’s one of my favourite postures.
- Stretches the muscles of your belly and also helps in toning the abdominal organs.
- Improves your body posture, exceptionally rounded shoulders.
- Stretches your hips, chest, arms, shoulders, spine, and thighs.
- When held for extended periods (5 minutes+), it will strengthen the lungs and breathing capacity. It is good to do if you have asthma and other respiratory ailments.
- It enhances coordination between your body parts and even boosts your concentration levels.
- Can be an emotional release as it opens the chest and is an exposed posture.
- Strengthens the neck
Hasta Utthanasana- Raised Arms Pose
Hasta Utthanasana is a backbend. It stretches the muscles of your legs, hips, and back while it strengthens the buttocks, thighs, and arms. This pose also helps relieve stress.
- Expands the chest.
- Stretches the back and shoulders.
- Relieves lower back pain
- Helps improve vitality
- Reduces fatigue
Marjariasana- Cat Posture
Marjariasana is a backbend that is named after the cat. It stretches the hips and hamstrings while it strengthens the arms, shoulders, chest, and spine.
This pose has a calming effect on the nervous system. This yoga posture is usually performed in combination with Bitilasana (cow posture) for a vinyasa (movement) to warm up the spine.
- Stretches all parts of your body.
- Brings oxygen to the cells.
- When combined with Bitilasana (cow posture), relieves menstrual cramps
- Provides a gentle massage to the spine and abdominal organs
- Stretches the back torso, and neck
Cow Pose- Bitilasana
At first, the cow pose may seem like a problematic pose, but it’s pretty easy as long as you can hold it for 5–10 breaths.
Cow pose is one of the first poses taught to children in yoga. Since cow pose is such an essential posture, it is best to master the pose before you can attempt other backbends.
This posture stretches your whole body from head to toe and strengthens all your muscles at once.
- Helps relieve stress and fatigue.
- Strengthens back muscles.
- Stretches the lower back and abdomen
- Stretches the chest and shoulders
- Improves confidence
Sarpasana – Snake Posture
Sarpasana is a backbend that is named after the reptile it resembles. This pose also opens up the chest and gently stretches the entire body from head to toe.
- Stretches all parts of your body
- Helps to correct the posture, particularly round shoulders.
- Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
- Soothes sciatica
- Therapeutic for asthma as it deepens breathing.
- Strengthens the spine
- Stimulates abdominal organs like liver and kidney
- Stimulates appetite, alleviates constipation.
Tips for safe yoga backbends
- Root down through your hands, feet, legs, or hips for a strong foundation.
- Draw the limbs toward the midline for a strong core
- Reach your tailbone away from your head.
- Engage Uddiyana Bandha by pulling the navel in and up.
- Keep the neck long.
- Work on creating an even arch over the entire spine.
- Relax the shoulders down your back.
The body is a temple, and we must heal it from time to time. Yoga is the tool that can help you with your fitness goals.
I have covered ten of the many yoga backbends and their benefits. It will help you maintain a healthy body and mind.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me or give me a like on my page.
Now that you understand the benefits of yoga backbends, give some of these yoga poses a try! I know you’ll see the same results as I have felt from doing these poses. You can incorporate all or some of the yoga backbends into your life.