Backbending Yoga Poses

What are yoga backbends?

Yoga backbends are one of the main categories of yoga poses. Practicing backbends open up the front body, increase your hip flexibility, and improve the mobility of your lumbar and thoracic spine. Backbends need to be balanced with an equal amount of quantity and intensity of forward bending yoga poses. Backbends will be more challenging to practice if you sit at a desk all day or have low-back pain. There is a wide range of back-bending yoga poses so all levels of yoga practitioners have suitable options for practice.

What are the benefits of backbends?

• Strengthens the back muscles
• Alleviates back pain
• Stretches the hip flexors
• Improves posture
• Activates prana life-force energy
• Increases circulation
• Boosts mood
• Opens up the shoulders and chest
• Stimulates the heart chakra
• Improves breathing

Tips for safe yoga backbends

• Root down through your hands, feet, legs, or hips for a strong foundation.
• Draw the limbs toward the midline for a strong core.
• Engage Mula Bandha (belly lock) by pulling the navel in and up.
• Reach your tailbone away from your head.
• Relax the shoulders down your back.
• Keep the neck long.
• Work on creating an even arch over the entire spine.

List of yoga backbends

Explore our index of back bending yoga poses below for step-by-step instructions, pose benefits, modifications, and Sanskrit pronunciation for these yoga backbend names.


Viewing ads supports YogaBasics. Remove ads with a membership. Thanks!
  • Yoga Therapeutics

    Yoga Therapy is the use of yoga postures, meditation and pranayama to help the body naturally heal and balance itself. Check out our Yoga Therapy section to learn which yogic practices have been shown to have healing qualities for common complaints. Yoga Therapy Guides
  • MONTHLY YOGA GIVEAWAY!

    Each month YogaBasics’s readers can enter a new giveaway for a chance to win a great yoga prize. Previous prizes have included yoga books, clothes, and yoga festival tickets! Enter This Month's Giveaway!
  • Our Premium Membership

    Like what you see...and want more? Our premium members have access to deluxe features and premium content including: advanced asanas, yoga pose sequences, yoga therapy, and downloadable MP3s. Join Now!