Backbends

Side Bow / Fallen Bow / Dhanurasana Variant

Side bow is definitely one of those Instagram-inventions. Once one of the influencers do it, it becomes a hot pose. For many however, it is not particularly accessible as it is very advanced, requiring extreme spinal, hip and shoulder flexibility and strength. This video shows 2 ways (or 1.5 ways…) I prefer to get into side bow.

Filmed at home, July 2018.


Fallen Dancer / Supta Natarajasana entry

Fallen dancer a.k.a. supta natarajasana can look confusing and difficult to get into. This short clip shows how I get into it on both sides. It is possible to do this without flipped grip – so in theory I’m actually showing fallen king dancer by using flipped grip – but if you are able to flip your grip in bow/dhanurasana, dancer/natarajasana, and pigeon/kapotasana, you will likely be able to flip your grip in Fallen Dancer too.

Filmed at home, July 2018.


Forearm Tick-Tocks – June 2018

Always working towards that elusive kickover…forearm tick-tocks are invaluable in understanding the mechanisms of the full wheel (bridge) tick-tock variation.

Filmed in Huntingdon in June 2018.

 


Alien Wheel / Bridge Sit Practice

The major challenge in this wheel variation is to learn to open the chest and shoulders up enough to keep the shoulders aligned over the wrists while the bend distributes evenly through the entire spinal column. I’m making steady progress with this specific area, and I’ve been able to move my feet further away thus preventing the knees dipping sharply over the feet as I lower hips towards the ground. There is still a long way to go yet though!

Filmed in Hinchingbrooke in June 2018.

 


Real Time Yoga – King Pigeon Pose (Raja Kapotasana)

1 minute of real-time yoga flowing which included pigeon and king pigeon poses and variants.

Filmed in June 2018 in Huntingdon.


Real Time Yoga – Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

1 minute of real-time yoga flowing which included cobra and king cobra poses.

Filmed in June 2018 in Huntingdon.


5 Ways into Wheel/Bridge

There are several ways to get into wheel/bridge pose. Depending on the level you are at, how long you’ve been practicing, where your strengths and weaknesses are, and how strong your backbends are will dictate which of these entries you will find easiest.

1. Downward Dog – raise leg, bend knee and begin to rotate the leg back toward the opposite shoulder, pivot grounded foot, land in Wild Thing and adjust hands and feet into wheel/bridge

2. Malasana/Squat – using leg power, raise hips upwards and move one hand behind you to stabilise. Bring other hand overhead to meet the ground, adjust hands and feet into wheel/bridge

3. Laying on ground, knees bent, elbows bent with hands positioned by shoulders, fingers pointing in towards the body. Use legs and arms to push up, driving from the hips and core. Adjust into wheel/bridge as necessary

4. Handstand – kick up into handstand, land one or both feet behind you in wheel/bridge

5. Dropback – from standing, come into a standing backbend. When ready, raise arms overhead ready to meet ground. Slow and controlled lands you in wheel/bridge

Filmed April 2018.


Wheel Play – Dropbacks, Forearm Wheel, Elbow Wheel and Full Wheel


Scorpion Pose: Legs Together vs. Legs Apart


Wheel to Wall

Wheel pose (what you might know as “bridge” if you did gymnastics) is seen as the ultimate in the standard backbending set in most yoga classes. It requires intense flexibility of the shoulders and thoracic spine in order to push out hard through the chest, strength in the arms to lift and hold the head off the floor, a strong core to lift and hold the position and to lower or stand up out of it, flexibility of the spine, and strong hips and legs to aid control of the position.

One of the best ways to measure your shoulder flexibility and thoracic projection is to practice your wheel against the wall. The idea of this is to work on getting your chest to the wall, without compromising the overall shape and strength of your wheel.

Also, give it a try in forearm wheel. Some people will find this easier, some will find it harder. Forearm wheel is a more intense backbend so make sure you’re comfortable in it before you begin pushing against the wall.

Filmed in July 2017.


Wheel Flow

Flow incorporating full wheel, forearm wheel, wheel with raised legs, and foot to head in forearm wheel.

Filmed May 2017.


Forearm Tick-Tocks

A drill I’ve reinstated after 2 years off to start learning a back walkover, and to strength my pincha (forearm stand). For the first time I’ve used just one leg for landing and kicking off.

Filmed May 2017.


Building Up Through the Backbends

Working on various yoga backbends including sphinx, cobra, king cobra and bow.