Backbends Yoga Poses | iHanuman


Love, Service, Devotion, Yoga

Show Us Your Asana!   Share your yoga poses and teachings.


Displaying 1 - 50 of 72 » page 1 of 2


Geometry: This pose takes Dhanurasana onto the side. Primary Actions:  1. Pull the hands against the fronts of the ankles to lift the legs as you simultaneously pull the legs away from the hands to lift the chest. 2. Roll the top of the thigh in and the back of the thigh out as you lift the inner leg and reach up through the inner heel to lift the legs further. 3. Lengthen the tops of the buttocks towards the knees to lengthen the lower back as you balance on your abdomen. 4. Lift the arms and legs to lengthen the entire body into the shape of a bow. 
Pose:Valakhilyasana Model: Kino MacGregor
From BKS Iyengar's "Light on Yoga", The Valakhilya were heavenly spirits the size of a thumb, produced from the Creator's Body. They are said to precede the Sun's chariot and to number sixty thousand. They are referred to in Kalidasa's epic poem Raghuvansa. This difficult asana is a continuation of Eka Pada Rajakapotasana I. Do not attempt it until you have mastered Eka Pada Rajakapotasana I and can perform the latter comfortably and gracefully.
Model: Kate Hallahan Zuckerman
Geometry: In this prone back bending pose, the torso is lifted and supported by the arms. The pelvis and legs remain on the ground. The legs are stretched straight back. 
Model: Adri Kyser
Geometry: Standing on my shins, my feet and shins are parallel. My thighs are perpendicular to the floor. My chest stretches backwards and my arms are stretched straight with the hands on the heels (or palms on the soles of the feet).
Geometry: This pose is a variation of Salabhasana where the hands are interlaced behind the head, elbows shoulder-width or slightly wider.
Model: Elizabeth Shilling Credit: Matthew Sexton
Geometry:The four limbs of the hands and feet support the weight of the body. The body is straight, strong and steady like a staff. The hands are shoulder width and parallel. Hands in line with lower ribs.The legs are hip width and parallel. 
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana Credit: Oksana Tara
Geometry: Hands Underneath Shoulders. Chest Lifted. Legs Stretched Back. Toes point straight back. And Legs straight. Arms Straight. Shoulders over wrists. Actions: Lie on the floor in a prone position. Face Downwards.
Geometry: Lying on the abdomen, the head, chest, arms and legs are extended and lifted from the ground. In the beginning the feet are separated. As one progresses the feet move together.
Model: Adri Kyser
Geometry: Chest and Legs are Lifted. The feet and legs are slightly apart. The arms are stretched straight to reach the ankles. The entire body is curved like a bow and is held with the arms as if forming a string to bend the bow.First Teaching:Lie on the abdomen, roll the fronts of the thighs in, bend the knees and bring the feet towards the buttocks.Take the arms behind and catch hold of the ankles, right ankle with the right hand and left ankle with the left hand.Grip the ankles, raise the chest, knees and thighs up away from the floor.The body rests on the lower abdominal area. The ribs and thighs do not touch the floor.Lift the head and look up.
Lois Steinberg PhD in Urdhva Dhanurasana, Upward Bow Pose
Supported on a chair, with hands and feet on floor or blocks; knees bent; pushing up if possible.Geometry: Supported by my Hands and Feet, my back is arched. My entire body is arched like a bow.
Model: Sara Agelasto Credit: Peter Agelasto
With the back on the floor, the back of the head, neck and shoulders remain on the floor. The pelvis is lifted and supported on a block. The Legs are extended.1. Lie on the floor, knees bent, toes pointing towards the wall. 2. Keep the head, neck and shoulders on the floor, press the feet on the floor and raise the hips/buttocks off the floor.3. Place a block vertically under the sacrum towards the tailbone.4. Straighten the legs, one at a time, the center of the back of the heels  on the floor.5. Externally rotate the arms and open the chest.6. Extend the arms along the floor towards the feet.
Chatush Padasana by Old Moon Yoga
The back of the head, neck, shoulders and upper arms are on the floor. The torso and hips are lifted, supported by the hands. The feet are parallel and in line with the sit bones or hips.1. Lie on the floor.2. Place the heels in line with the sit bones or slightly wider. Feet are parallel.3. Take the shoulder blades down and into the back. 4. Press into the feet to lift the hips and pelvis off the floor. 5. Keep the back of the head, neck and shoulders on the floor and support the hips with the hands. Watch A Video on Chatush Padasana produced by Yoga Journal's LiveMag.
Supta Virasana with a Partner
Geometry: This asana is a variation of Virasana and is practiced lying down.Arm Variations:
Here is a video of Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher Mary Dunn demonstrating this pose: And a great sequence from Roger Cole using Paryankasana as a preparation for Kapotasana.

Asana Sequences

This 75 minute all levels class uses the chair as an assist in standing poses and backbends. Go deeper into poses such as garudasana, utthita maricyasana III and parivrtta parsvakonasana. View the entire class:
This 75 minute all levels class warms you up quickly with arm balances including ardha adho mukha vrksasana and chaturanga dandasana to prepare you for building more heat in backbends such as paryankasana and ustrasana

View the entire class:

Props Recommended: Wall, Strap, Chair, Block and Blankets. Alternative props can be used.

In this 75 minute class, enjoy waking up the upper back and shoulders before attempting more challenging backbends. As always, variations included for all levels.  View the entire class:

Props Recommended: Wall, Strap, Chair, Bolster, Blocks and Blankets. Alternative props can be used. Recorded with Yoga Cville, the home to Iyengar Yoga in Charlottesville, Virginia by iHanuman Yoga Media. View and Download More Yoga Classes & Workshops at


Subscribe to Backbends

Receive a Heartfelt, Inspired Newsletter with Special Features, Seasonal Updates, and Coupon Codes for Use with Our Yoga Downloads.