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Looking to motivate and challenge yourself during this Circuit Breaker? We are bringing you a 5-day Backbend Challenge that will improve your overall back bending flexibility while opening up your chest, shoulders and hips! Join us and watch your practice bloom as your progress through the poses!
 
Date: 25 – 29 May
In this 5-day challenge, complete the tasks set by Basava each day and share your photo or video on your social media (FB, FB story, IG post of IG story) and tag us @jalyogasg! Remember to set your account or post “public” and #stayhomewithjal so Basava can check out your progress.
 
▶Day 1: Bow Pose (Hold)
▶Day 2: Camel Pose (Hold)
▶Day 3: Bridge Pose (Hold)
▶Day 4: Seated Backbend with Wall (Hold)
▶Day 5: Standing Backbend with Wall (Hold)

Day 1: Bow Pose (Hold)

Lie on your belly with hands alongside torso. Exhale, bend knees and bring heels close to buttocks. Bring your hands back to catch ankles, keep your knees hip-width apart. Inhale, lift your heels away from buttocks, and head, chest and thighs away from floor. Press your shoulder blades firmly against your back to open your heart, draw the top of your shoulders away from ears. Balance on your navel, breathe into the back of torso. Hold it for 20-30 sec, 3 rounds in total.

Challenge! Keep your thighs, calves and inner feet touching and straighten your knees.

▶Modifications
Can’t reach ankles?
Use a strap around your ankles, hold the strap and lift up. Try to keep your arms fully extended.
Can’t lift thighs off the floor?
Lie with your thighs supported on a rolled-up blanket to give your leg a little upward boost.

 

Day 2: Camel Pose (Hold)

Kneel down on mat with knees hip-width apart. Place palms on both sides of spine, drive elbows together, thumbs touching each other, lengthen up through crown of head. Chin parallel to the ground with shoulders relaxed away from ears. Inhale, engage the core, push hips forwards, slowly arch your back. Wrap your hands around heels, push into hands to lift the heart to the sky. Feel the deep stretch in the entire front side of the body. Hold it for 3 – 5 breaths, 3 rounds in total.

Challenge! Try taking hold of opposite ankles or one arm hold the heel while the other reaches towards the ceiling.

▶Modifications
Hands can’t reach feet?
Keep hands on lower back to support the spine, then slowly draw your head back and release the neck. Or tuck toes under or place yoga blocks on both sides of feet.

Knees discomfort?
Place a folded blanket underneath the knees and ankles.

 

Day 3: Bridge Pose (Hold)

Lie on back with knees bend and feet draw inwards towards the hips. Feet parallel with each other, extend arms along the floor. Press the feet and arms firmly into the floor. Inhale, lift hips up high towards ceiling, walk your shoulders underneath you. Interlace your fingers and press the forearms down into the mat to get more lift in hips.

Continue to refine your pose by moving chest towards the chin (not chin to chest), lengthen the tailbone towards feet. Hold it for 10 – 15 deep breathes.

Challenge! Try one-leg Bridge Pose – when coming into the Bridge pose, extend one leg up towards the ceiling, hold for 15s, then release and change leg.

▶Modifications
Can’t keep hips lifted?
Place a block on bolster under your sacrum.

Tight shoulders?
Keep your hands alongside the body with palms pressing into the mat.

 

Day 4: Seated Backbend with Wall (Hold)

Sit in Diamond Pose – one foot away from wall, facing away from it. Inhale, raise arms over head and bend slightly back to place your fingertips on the wall (fingers pointing towards the ground). Slowly walk the fingers up, press fingers or palms on the wall, lift your hips up. Exhale, walk the hands down, push hips & thighs forward, and arch your back. Breathe smoothly through nose, try to go deeper with each inhalation and exhalation. Hold it for 5 – 10 breathes.

Challenge! Try Kapotasana – from Diamond Pose, exhale, slowly lie down on floor. Bend both elbows and position the palms of your hands on the floor beside your head with fingers pointing towards your shoulders. Press hands onto the floor while lifting head, chest and buttocks. Slowly walk the hands towards your feet and try to place your head over the soles. If comfortable, extend arms forward and place hands over respective knees and close eyes.

▶Modifications
Feel pain in lumbar spine or shoulders?
Don’t force too much if you are feeling uncomfortable.

 

Day 5: Standing Backbend with Wall (Hold)

Stand 1 foot away from the wall, facing away from it. Feet about 2 fists distance apart. Turn your torso slightly towards the right side, touch the right arm on the wall, right elbow twist towards the ceiling, fingers facing to the floor. Then, raise your left arm and place it on wall, left elbow and fingers are facing the same direction as right side. Walk 1 feet forward, straighten both elbows. Inhale, slowly walk your fingers dow, arch your spine, go as far as you can hold the pose. Hold it for 5- 10 breathes.

Challenge! Walk the fingers further down and place palms on floor into a full Wheel Pose.

▶Modifications
Lie on mat with knees bent, heels place close to hips. Knees and feet are hip-width apart. Bend both elbows and position the palms of your hands on the floor beside your head with fingers pointing towards your shoulders. Press hands strongly onto the floor, lift hips and head up. Slowly walk your fingers towards heels. Hold it for 10s. If you are unable to come up to a Wheel Pose, you may hold a Bridge Pose instead.

 

 

1. Have any questions regarding the Backbend Challenge? 

2. Want more modifications for the practices?

3. Want more challenges like this?

Let us know in the comment section down below!

 

 

Here’s a guide to help you navigate your days at home:

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