Good morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a series on different categories of Asanas I use – Seated, Standing, Heart Opener / Backbend, Hip Opener / Forward Bend, Arm Balance, Inversion, Twist, and Reclined. Today we will cover Heart Openers or Backbend Asanas. Please note through this series that many of the Asanas can belong to more than one group – for example a seated twist would clearly belong to both Seated and Twist categories, and a reclined twist would belong to both Reclined and Twist.
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BONUS DAILY ASANA CHALLENGE
We are in the middle of a daily Asanas practice challenge for April! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For our focus on Backbend Asanas today, I recommend a Vinyasa class, which will flow between Heart Opening and Hip Opening poses..
I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. This week I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner AM (20 Minute), which includes the beginner version of this pose that I can do! I modify with more advanced versions of poses including full side plank, standard extended side angle, and lowering slowly from plank to Chaturanga Dandasana / Yoga Push-Up… I am still working arm strength to do the Intermediate version of this class!
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try any backbend Asana. Some Backbend Asanas are beginner or basic poses, but I would consider this group as a whole to be intermediate since as you progress, you will come into deeper backbends in your practice. Additionally, Yogis must exercise caution with backbends and not push beyond comfort to avoid injury with many of these poses. I find these Asanas to be some of the most important, especially to counter the common forward hunched back from sedentary jobs. These poses open the thighs, chest , shoulders, and/or abdomen.
Today I recommend a few rounds of Sun Salutations finding your favorite Vinyasa backbend between Bhujangasana / Cobra, Sarpasana / Snake, Urdha Svanasana / Upward Facing Dog, and Salamba Bhujangasana / Sphinx – my favorite is Sarpasana / Snake as pictured above! PS my favorite Heart Opener is Ustrasana or Camel Pose, an intermediate Asana we will cover a bit later this summer!
Heart Opener / Backbend Asanas
Urdha Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog Pose
Anuvittasana – Standing Backbend
Ashta Chandrasana – High Lunge
Uttana Shishosana – Extended Puppy / Melting Heart Pose
Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana – Mermaid Pose
Purvottanasana – Reverse or Upward Plank
Eka Hasta Vyaghrasana – One-Handed Tiger Pose
Baddha & Viparita Virabhadrasana – Humble & Reverse Warrior
Check out more Asanas on Yoga Journal
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Please comment to share your experience! What did you think? Which is your favorite of these Heart Opener Asanas? Always remember, be kind!