How to Increase Back Flexibility

Backbends are hard. They challenge us to embrace vulnerability and to fully listen to our body. I have come up with 3 postures that have really helped me learn the most from backbends. Posture number one and two are all levels. Number three is a little more intermediate, so take it slow or skip if needed.

Before trying the following postures, make sure to warm-up first! A few Sun Salutations will do the trick.

1.  Puppy Against the Wall

This is one of my favorite moves to warm-up the upper back and shoulders. Start by standing about a foot away from the wall (or, in this case, tree). Bring your hands forward and straight against the wall at about shoulder width. Keeping your hips over your heels, lower your chest down towards the wall.

2.  Bridge – Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Start on your back with your feet planted on the ground, heels just touching your middle fingers. Role your shoulders down, reach your chin up slightly, press into the ground as you lift your hips.

3. Wall Walks

Start with your hands at heart center, reach your arms high, lengthen the spine, and begin to bend backwards. Your palms will touch the wall. Lift up through the heart, and slowly, listening to your body, begin to walk your hands down. Remember to breathe the entire time.

Hold each pose for at least 5 breaths. If time is of the essence, go through all of these 2-3 times. Remember, listen to your body. You do not want to go further than your body wants you to. Keeping a slightly engaged core throughout these poses will help to strengthen your back. Happy self discovery! 

Dawn is an avid yoga practitioner & teacher in Colorado. Yoga has been a huge part of her life for over 9 years. She believes that what you do to improve yourself, improves your surroundings and improves the world. 

Check out more of Dawn's daily posts on her Instagram: @dawn_yoga