The Benefits of Adding Backbends to Your Yoga Practice

6 Reasons To Practice Yoga Backbends

Yoga Backbend Benefits


I can still clearly remember the very moment and day that I first injured my lower back. Everything was going great and then a simple act of bending forward to pick up some magazines changed everything. Most of us at some point experience the dreaded lower back injury, unfortunately in most cases once the back is injured, it’s usually never quite the same.A few years ago, I began my yoga practice with the worry that my back just wouldn’t be able to survive. However, I can happily report that my practice has all but eliminated most of my back problems. As a matter of fact, if my back feels badly, a quick class will usually do wonders.As it turns out, yoga backbends aren’t only good for the back but also provide many other benefits as well. Of course, you should always consult your doctor before taking on any exercise routine, especially if you have injuries. In the meantime, here’s a short list of yoga backbend benefits, some of which will likely surprise you.Plus, if you’re interested, here are some Backbend Poses! Browse Backbend Postures!Stress Relief. Many yoga poses offer some level of stress and tension relief. Backbends certainly fall into that category. Most of us tend to carry around a lot of tension in the back, like all tension it needs to be released.

Spine Flexibility. Naturally a healthy spine is a flexible spine. Many people find themselves hunched or bent forward for a large portion of their day. Maybe you work at a desk or your job requires too much bending over. Backbends allow us to reverse that trend and get the back bending in the opposite direction which keeps the spine flexible and healthy.

Compress & Massage Kidneys. Backbends also provide a little compression or massage for the kidneys. This compression can help to keep the kidneys flushed.

Abdomen Stretches. We spend a lot of time stretching many areas of the body with yoga, but the abdomen doesn’t seem to get its fair share. Backbends arch the back and therefore provide a good opening stretch for abdomen.

They Get You Upside Down. Of course, there are numerous backbends of varying degrees of difficulty. Some are very simple such as Cobra, and others like Wheel are more extreme. Poses like Wheel get you upside down which also offers unique benefits. Plus, getting upside down can help overcome fears and prepare you to possibility move forward with inversions if you desire.

Offer A Challenge & Build Strength. As mentioned above, some backbends can be challenging and require significant strength. Practicing these more difficult backbends can offer great satisfaction as you expand your practice.

As always practice safely, pay attention to alignment and don’t force it!

3 Popular Backbends & Their Benefits


Camel Pose


Camel Pose

Camel Pose opens your heart and chest!Camel Pose certainly seems to be one of the more popular backbend and chest opening postures. Visually the pose can be very beautiful and pleasing to the eye, but the posture is full of genuine benefits. Like most backbend postures, Camel also offers several variations with different degrees of difficulty.The major benefits of Camel Pose include opening the heart and chest along with strengthening the back. The pose also stretches the shoulders and helps tone the organs of the neck and abdomen. Naturally, Camel also helps with flexibility in the hips and aids with developing good posture.Cobra Pose, Bow Pose and Hero Pose are all good prep postures for Camel.It’s likely that beginner students may not be able to touch their feet with their hands in the beginning stages of practicing Camel. It may be a good idea to turn your toes under to raise your heels, or you could also use a block with each hand, place the block outside of each heel.

Major Tip: Remember, with backbends it’s critical not to force your body into a position it’s not ready for, listen and feel for signs telling you to slow down.

Camel Pose offers a variety of benefits, some of which are listed below. Enjoy the pose!

Camel Pose Benefits:

Opens The Chest

Stretches The Hips

Stretches The Shoulders

Strengthens The Back

Tones The Neck and Abdomen

Bow Pose


Bow Pose

Bow Pose or Dhanurasana Pose is considered by most to be a fairly advanced backbend.

The pose is called Bow Pose because it resembles an archers bow. If the pose is deep enough it can also resemble a tear drop.

This pose should be practiced with caution, especially for beginners. Beginners may find it difficult to lift off the ground, in which case a blanket under the thighs may help. Going deep into the pose isn’t required and shouldn’t be forced.

Tip: Pose not suggested for anyone with high or low blood pressure.

Bow Pose Benefits:

Opens Chest and Shoulders

Helps to Strengthen the Back Muscles

Beneficial For Developing Good Posture

Good Stretch For Hip Flexors

Allows Lungs to Expand More Fully

Fish Pose


Fish Pose

Don’t be a fish out of water! Add Fish Pose to your practice!

The Sanskrit word “matsya” means “fish”, therefore we can translate the posture to Fish Pose. This pose is generally considered a counter pose to Shoulder Stand Pose, or Plow Pose. Normally, the full pose is practiced with the legs in Lotus Pose, although beginners will typically practice with straight legs flat on the floor.

The major benefits of Fish Pose include stretching the hip flexors and opening the chest. The intercostal muscles are also stretched along with the muscles of the abdomen. The organs of the belly are stimulated and the throat is also stretched. Muscles of the upper back and back of neck can also be strengthened in Fish Pose. It has be stated that Fish Pose is a destroyer of many diseases.

Bow Pose, Bridge Pose and Reclining Hero Pose can act as good prep poses for Fish Pose.

Major Tips: Start practicing this pose with straight legs as opposed to having your legs in Lotus posture. You can practice the posture with your hands by your side or underneath your buttocks. Be careful not to strain your neck, if needed place a blanket underneath your head to raise it.

Fish Pose offers a variety of benefits, some of which are listed below. Enjoy the pose!

Fish Pose Benefits:

Stretches The Chest

Helps To Calm The Mind

Stretches The Hip Flexors

Strengthens The Upper Back & Neck

Stimulates The Abdomen