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Heart Opening Yoga Sequence: Backbend Yoga Sequence

(Tummee Reference Yoga Sequence)

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Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans

Overview

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Heart Opening Yoga Sequence: Backbend Yoga Sequence: Yoga Poses, Cues, Steps, and Breathing instructions

Yoga Sequence Builder for Yoga Teachers: Plan your yoga classes, build yoga sequencing foundation with sequence guides, and get yoga sequencing ideas with daily yoga sequences and reference cues. Learn more at www.tummee.com

  • Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)
    A. To begin with warm up of the body, start by standing in Tadasana taking a few moments here to connect the breath with the body. Allow the breath to settle naturally and don't force the breath to calm.

    B. From Tadasana begin the practice of Sun Salutations making sure each pose connects with the right flow of breath or prana.

    C. Starting with Tadasana start the 10 step poses, continuing in 8 rounds of breathing in the first round and moving on to 6 (3 pairs) along with 48 rounds of breathing.

    D. If breathing is not helping in going smoothly, then use your own method of breathing so long as the breathing is smooth.

    E. After the completion of 6 rounds of Surya Namaskar, stand in Tadasana and relax the breath and the muscles.
  • Intense Leg Stretch Pose (Prasarita Padottanasana)
    A. A After a few warm up stretches for the legs, arms, shoulders and neck, through the practice of Sun Salutations let us begin by standing on the mat with legs stretched out hip distance apart with toes pointing forward and as per your comfort.

    B. Placing the feet firm on the floor ensure the knees are comfortable and the spine is stretched straight.

    C. Have your arms stretched out in front of you with fingers interlocked with palms facing outside and as you inhale expand those arms out and stretch the lower back(tail bone) a bit to the outside pulling in the tummy. Exhale and stay here for a few breaths.

    D. Again inhale and stretch the arms and the lower back deeper and as you exhale bring the upper body downwards bending at the hips and reach for the floor with the palms, bending the elbows outwards.

    E. Here the expanding of the upper hips and the lower back, the expanding of the hamstrings and the inner thigh muscles should be felt.

    F. With deep inhalations and exhalations move the body downwards feeling the opening of the hips. Opening of the hips will help to prepare the body gradually for backbends.

    G, Remain here for about 6 breaths in Prasarita padottanasana and watch for the deep stretch at the lower back.
  • Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
    A. This pose requires complete awareness of the breath as the body needs to be stable in order to balance.

    B. Moving from the Intense Leg Stretch Pose above, bring the arms sideways at shoulder level. With right foot moved inwards at about 20 degrees and the left foot placed with toes pointed out and feet at 90 degrees, take a few breaths here.

    C. Gradually inhale and as you exhale take the torso sideways flexing the hip towards your left and bring the left arm down and hold the toes of the left foot or place the left palm on the floor close to the foot.

    D. Ensure maximum exhalation is achieved while bending and place the other arm at shoulder level above your head and turning the neck look up at the right arm without creating stiffness at the neck.

    E. Feel the stretch at the knees, inner hip and inner lower abdomen, the sides of the lower back and the stretch at the legs.

    F. If reaching for the floor is difficult , a block could be used by placing it close to your feet and the palms can be placed on it.

    G. Remain here in Utthita Trikonasana for 6 breaths and ensure while inhaling to loosen the body a bit and when at exhale go into the pose stretching deeper.
  • Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
    A. Repeat this pose with the other leg and arm and hold it for 6 long breaths.

    B. Ensure the hip is stretched carefully and create awareness of the twist . No sign of uneasiness should be felt in the upper rib cage while in the pose.

    C. Sometimes indigestion can cause cramps in the upper abdomen or lower rib cage.

    D. Work on proper breathing thus enjoying the stretch without causing stiffness in any part of the body.

    E. Exhalation should take you deeper into the Extended Triangle Pose.
  • Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
    A. Moving from Utthita Trikonasana, inhale and raise the torso and stand with the feet still hip distance apart and take a few breaths here.

    B. Now move the left foot at 90 degrees and the right foot at about 20 degrees inwards and stretch the arms at shoulder level.

    C. Inhale expand those arms outwards and as you exhale bring the left arm downward by bending the hip towards the left side and reach for the floor by placing the palms beside the foot and give the left knee a slight bend. Bring the pose into Utthita Parsvakonasana.

    D. Once in the pose exhale completely and begin the deep breathing and balance your body. As the body gets comfortable, move the knees by bending them a bit more and take the right arm up and glance at those fingers by turning the neck.

    E. This pose is a deep opening of the hips and with the magic of the breath retain the pose and balance the body for about 6 slow breaths.
  • Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
    A. Repeat with the right leg, bending the right knee and place the right palm on the floor taking the left arm way above your head gazing at those fingers.

    B. This deep inner thigh stretch can go wrong if the alignment of the feet and the hip are not accurate. Hence be aware of the pose and its stretch and connect with the body for any uneasiness.

    C. Remain here for 6 breaths and stay strong and focused.

    D.This is the most awesome hip opener giving a great support for the lower back, under the category of standing pose for the intermediate level of students.

    E. A block could be placed near the feet if the arms cannot reach further down to place the palms on the floor.

    F. If the hip feels tight, then reduce the distance between the feet and don't go too deep in the stretch till the body is ready.
  • Reverse Warrior Pose (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
    A. At the Intermediate Level too this pose is considered difficult , as the weight of the upper body is placed deep into the hip and the knees. And to hold this pose for longer breaths could be considered as an advance level pose.

    B. Someone who has practiced yoga for years would understand that the body needs to be placed light and loose while taking the pose and then through exhalation get deeper into the pose.

    C. In this pose, with feet at hip distant apart continuing from Utthita Parsvakonasana, release and come to the centre with the torso and relax taking a few breaths. Now bring the left foot out at 90 degrees and the right foot inside at 20 degrees. With an inhalation take the arms stretched out sideways at shoulder level and look at the fingers of the left arm in front of you. Complete exhalation here.

    D. With another inhalation bend the left knee a bit, ensuring the knee does not go beyond the ankle, and take the left arms above your shoulder and take a slow back bend placing the right arm way below your right leg at the calf. Exhale here completely.

    E. If the breathing gets difficult then loosen the upper body first and then take a slow inhalation and with exhalation move the body into the pose.

    F. The weight of the body falls to some extent on the hips thus strengthening the muscles in and around the lower back and hip. And remain here in Viparita VIrabhadrasana as a counter movement of the back in a slight back bends after giving the deep stretch to the sides of the back.

    G. Remain here for about 8 breaths and stay calm and focused giving oneself the confidence to go deeper with the practice.
  • Bound Angle Forward Bend (Baddha Konasana Uttanasana)
    A. Releasing from the standing poses, come to sit in stretching the legs out in Dandasana and after taking a few breaths here, bring the legs to bend at the knees and place the feet facing each other in Baddha Konasana.

    B. Inhale and extend the arms above your head and as you exhale, go forward with the torso in Baddha Konasana Uttanasana, bringing the arms stretched out on the floor while trying to place the face and chest on the floor.

    C. Remain here feeling the stretch at the lower back and this also works as a gentle pose to open the heart. Remain here for about 6 long breaths.
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Note: Above yoga sequence is for educational purposes only. Please consult a medical professional and/or a licensed yoga teacher or yoga therapist before starting any exercise regime, including yoga.

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