Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras and representative Asanas with the fourth of the Yamas – Brahmacharya or Moderation and Anuvittasana.
Bonus Daily Asana Challenge
Since we are in the middle of a September Daily Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Standing Backbend or Anuvittasana (Ah-NUH-vee-TAH-sa-nuh) is my choice to represent Brahmacharya, since this pose requires moderation – you must gently lean back and avoid straining to avoid injury! This is a great pose for monitoring your yoga journey with Asanas, because you will come further and further into backbends as you increase your flexibility. Moreover, this pose literally translates from Sanskrit as “found” or “obtained” pose. I think further emphasizes the journey aspect of this Asana.
Bonus Daily Asana Challenge
We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. So, for Brahmacharya Day today, I recommend a Vinyasa class, which will include this pose as part of Sun Salutations.
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. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner Flexibility (30 Minute), which includes plenty of Standing Backbends!
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try some Standing Backbends for Brahmacharya Day! This is a common opening pose series for all levels Yogis and all styles of Yoga. We will now talk about the standing and supported variations of this pose today! Start in Tadasana – Mountain Pose.
If you would prefer an off-the-mat practice for Brahmacharya Day – try a digital detox!
Anuvittasana – Standing Backbend
Feet – Think of your feet as three primary contact points with the ground. These are the heels, pinky toes, and big toes. Make sure your big toes are touching. If possible, make sure the back of your heels are touching. If you have a lower back injury like I do, you may also find it easier to keep the heels slightly apart. Claw your toes into the mat slightly to keep your arches from falling into the mat.
Legs – Make sure your legs are comfortably straight. Perhaps keep a slight bend in the knee. Always make sure you avoid hyper-extending or locking your knees.
Hips – Make sure your hips are neutral to start. Then on the exhale, tuck your tailbone under and press your hips slightly forward to come into the backbend. As you get more comfortable with this pose, you can press your hips further forward to come into a deeper backbend.
Torso – Notice your rib cage in Tadasana / Mountain Pose. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open. First inhale your hands into position, and then exhale as you gently press your hips forward and lean your torso back into a comfortable backbend.
Head and Neck – Check where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders. Either close your eyes, or gaze softly ahead.
Arms – On an inhale before exhaling back into this pose, bring your arms over your head next to your ears, keeping your shoulders down and back. You can press your palms together, or keep them slightly separated.
Beginner Yogis may want to come into Salamba Anuvittasana – Supported Standing Backbend as pictured below. Point your fingers down towards the mat and press your palms into your hips or lower back, and make sure your elbows stay pointed straight back to help your chest open.
Finally, to come out of this pose, lean forward and lift with your chest on an inhale to come back into Tadasana / Mountain Pose.
Come into Anuvittasana / Standing Backbend on inhales, and back to Tadasana / Mountain. or all the way forward to Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend on exhales. Then, repeat a few times. I recommend this series to stretch and warm up the spine and torso at the beginning of Asana practice!
PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!
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Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried both versions of Standing Backbend before? Always remember, be kind!