Standing Backward Bend: Ardha Chakrasana For Strong Spine
Standing Backward Bend — Ardha Chakrasana (Ar-DAA-Chahk-RAA-SUN-aa) — is a deep backbend that gently opens the chest and increases flexibility in the spine. It can help to prepare the body and mind for deeper backbends and heart-opening postures like chakrasana (wheel pose). It gets its name from the Sanskrit words, ardha, meaning half, chakra, meaning wheel, and asana, meaning pose.
Level of difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
Step-by-step instructions for standing backward bend pose
- Stand straight in Tadasana or Mountain pose with both feet together and arms alongside your body. Balance your weight equally on both feet.
- Breathing in, extend your arms overhead with your palms facing each other.
- Breathing out, gently bend backwards, pushing your pelvis forward and keeping your arms in line with your ears and your elbows and knees straight.
- Keep your head up and lift your chest towards the ceiling.
- Hold and breathe deeply.
- Breathing in, coming back up.
- Breathing out, lower your arms and relax.
Benefits of Ardha chakrasana or Standing backward bend
Ardha chakrasana is an effective posture that aids good posture by reversing the habitual pattern of slumping forward and rounding the shoulders.
- Stretches the front upper torso, re
- Tones the arms, neck, and shoulder muscles, relieving tension
- Opens the chest and improves lung capacity
- Increases flexibility in the spine
- Reduces stress
It is recommended that backbends be practiced gently, only moving deeper as much as the body is ready. If you have a previous or pre-existing health condition as listed below, consult your physician before practicing this pose and you may modify it based on your individual needs.
- Hip or spinal injury
- High blood pressure
- Peptic or duodenal ulcers
Modifications and variations
- To Modify: To lessen the intensity of the pose, bring your hands to your lower back, supporting yourself with your palms. Make sure that you are lifting out of your chest rather than crunching in your lower back.
- To increase the challenge: Bend your head back and continue gently arching your spine into a deeper backbend.
Follow-up and preparatory poses
- Mountain Pose | Tadasana (Preparatory)
- Standing Spinal Twist | Katichakrasana (Preparatory)
- Sideways Bending – One Arm | Konasana (Preparatory)
- Tree Pose | Vrikshasana (Follow-up)
- Standing Backward Bend | Ardha Chakrasana (Follow-up)
- Full Wheel Pose | Chakrasana (Follow-up)
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