YoTip: Backbending with Yashmani Seepaul
YoTeacher Yashmani swears that she glided into this pose only after “making my diet 80% raw, vegan, and consuming only liquids after 6pm.”
In his seminal work Light On Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar writes: Backbends are rejuvenating. They give energy and courage and combat depression. They open the chest and make the spine flexible. The arms and shoulders become strong. The mind and body become alert. YoTeacher Yashmani guides you through a complete backbends-are-beautiful sequence.
Words and photos by Lynette Chiang
“What has helped my back bending, is lots of practice, patience, and a healthy diet. Fueling up on fruits and veggies, not to mention my daily green smoothies. Also just listening to my body and not eating too much or too little,” says YoGanesh teacher Yashmani Seepaul.
“For the sequence below, I give my deepest gratitude to all my teachers, and the teachers before them. Especially Sri Dharma Mittra. I have been blessed to have crossed paths with truly amazing souls who have guided, supported, and shown me the light. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.”
1. Sphinx Pose – forearms down, elbows beneath shoulders, draw chest forward & roll shoulders back & down
2 – Preparation for cobra (bhujangasana) – forehead on mat, hands beneath shoulders legs together.
3 – Rise up slowly on your inhalation, lengthening the spine & rolling the shoulders down & back away from the ears.
4 – Slowly arch back keeping the length in the spine without compressing the lower back, if possible squeeze legs together pressing the tops of the feet into the floor.
5 – Prep for bow pose (dhanurasana) – forehead on the mat, reach for the ankles.
6 – Inhaling kick the legs back & up, lifting up the chest.
7 – Variation of bow – release the right ankle, extending right arm & leg. Keep kicking back & up.
8 – Other side – release the left ankle, extending left arm & leg. Keep kicking back & up.
9 – Another variation – cross the ankles, release one hand and offer up your pose.
10 – Other side – cross ankles, release one hand and make your offering.
11 – Preparation for advanced variation of bow pose – press into left forearm & the ball of your left foot to help you arch back & lift the chest.
12 – Advanced variation holding the feet.
13 – Relaxation (shavasana) pose variation – rest & breath.
14 – Child’s pose (balasana) – rest & release the lower back as you sit back on the heels.
15 – Making soft fists gently tap on either side of the spine to release any lower back tension.