Standing Backbend Pose (Anuvittasana)

How many yogis start their practice standing? I usually begin my practice (first thing in the morning) in a comfortable seated position or Child’s pose. Some days, however, I jump out of bed feeling energized and ready to take on the day.

These are too energetic to start slowly. I jump right up to the front and do a warm Morning Flow.

Standing up to begin my practice allows me to add standing warm-up poses to my routine. I stretch my shoulders and neck, then reach my arms up to the sky in order to stretch out my side. Then, I dive back into a gentle backbend.

Standing Backbends are the foundation of my practice, no matter how I start my training. I begin very gently and go deeper with every vinyasa.


The backbend while standing is a great pose to open the heart. This pose helps release tension in the neck, shoulders, and back. This pose opens up the respiratory system to allow for a deeper and fuller breath.

Standing backbend can be used as a great pose to prepare for any deep pose like Camel pose or Wheel pose.


Start by standing on top of your mat in Mount Pose. Your feet should be hip-distance away.

Focus on raising your kneecaps. Keep your belly in and your heart forward.

Reach up to the crown of your hair and release tension from your shoulders.

As you bring your elbows close together, place your palms on your lower back with your fingers pointing down.

As you inhale, lift your head tall and draw your belly in. Keep your core strong.

Only go as far back as you feel comfortable. Keep your neck aligned with your spine and look forward. You can also drop your head back all the way.

Stay here for 3 to 5 breaths. As you deepen the backbend, focus on opening your chest. Keep your abs engaged as you lengthen your spine.

As you prepare to leave the Mountain Pose, slowly inhale and return to Mountain Pose by stacking vertebrae one at a time. You can support yourself by placing your hands on your back.

Tips and Modifications

Do you want to go a little further with this backbend? You may be able to release your hands once you reach the full extension of Standing Backbend. If you feel comfortable, you can release your fingers and clasp your hands.

You can also clasp your hands and point your fingers upwards. You can deepen your backbend by using your breath.

Listening to your body is the key to practicing this pose. You may be able to fold yourself in half backward if the person to your right is able to do so. The person to your left may be able to bend their back slightly.

No matter how your backbend appears, it will feel like a good combination of comfort and challenge.

Note: Perform a Standing Backbend with caution if you’ve recently suffered neck or back injuries.

Standing Backbend Pose can be incorporated into your backbyou’vequence the next time you are on your mat. With each vinyasa, take the pose deeper.

You may be surprised at how deep you can go when you enter wheel pose.

How would you integrate Standing Backbend into your practice? How often do you practice this pose? Share any tips with your fellow yogis!

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