Backbending (themed class) Lesson Plan

75 minutes approximately


Sit, eyes closed, in butterfly, chest forward.

  • Anahata chakra is located in your thoracic spine and translates to unstruck. This can mean that beneath our personal experiences of pain in our heart lies love and compassion.
  • In today’s class we are going to be backbending. Backbending requires a great deal of faith in yourself: that you will stay up, pressing your heart forward and if you enter the pose from standing that you will catch yourself. In anahata you follow your heart. In backbending you push your heart forward. Backbends require trust and surrender to open the heart fully and it is important to remove fear to allow space for love and joy. In our last class, we spoke about devotion – bhakti. It is through devotion that anahata can be awakened, today fully devote yourself to your practice, to opening your heart. 
  • With the symbol of air, Anahata energises and thus pranayama helps balance this chakra. While you’re sitting here, I want you to listen for your heart beat and draw your attention to this chakra. Breathing deeply through both nostrils feel your heart beat and focus on this area.

Sit cross legged (3 mins)

  • laterally flex back to right then left
  • circle through body bringing chest forward and then back, clockwise then anticlockwise
  • holding knees with hands push backwards, and then forwards stretching through the spine.


  • Suryanamaskara A x 5 (3 mins)
  • Suryanamaskara B backbending variation x 5 (5 mins)
  • Warrior 1 – warrior 2 – sun warrior – vinyasa x 2 (right and left)  (5 mins)
  • Warrior 1 – warrior 2 – parsvakonasana – parivritta parsvakonasana – vinyasa x 2 (right and left) (5 mins)
  • Warrior 1 – warrior 3 – tree – eagle – warrior 1 – vinyasa x 2 (right and left) (7 mins)
  • Warrior 1 – warrior 3 – ardha chandrasana – ardha baddha padmottonasana – warrior 1 – vinyasa x 2 (right and left) (7 mins)
  • From downward dog – 3 legged dog – pigeon pose (push chest up, then lie over leg), lift back foot to stretch through quad, holding toe rotate arm over head, If possible grab both toes – come back to downward dog x 2 (right and left) (5 mins)

Jump through to seated

  • Navasana (5 breaths, 5 times) – vinyasa (2 mins)
  • Supta vajrasana (15 breaths)
  • Naukasana – vinyasa (5 breaths, 5 times) (2 mins)
  • Supta virasana (15 breaths)
  • Cow face pose one arm, then other (2 mins)
  • Back bending (on the wall) (10 minutes)
    • Try full wheel once on the floor to get the feeling.
    • Stand against the wall, 2 feet away – put hands on wall and push chest out
    • Stand 4 feet away from the wall, hands to prayer up and push chest forward, reach hands back to the wall, come up
    • Stand 4 feet away from the wall, hands to prayer, push chest forward, reach hands back to the wall, walk hands down to the wall. Rest then walk hands back up.
    • If feeling ok stand on mat hands in prayer – teacher hold student’s hips – student exhale lift hands in prayer over head, push hips forward, head back, when spot ground reach for it. Teacher hold hips until hands on the ground – hold 5 breaths. Exhale rock backward and forward into palms and knees, inhale on a rock forward to feet stand up.
    • If student is ok – try by self with teacher spotting.
  • Pashimottonasana (2 mins)
  • Butterfly pose (1 min)
  • Headstand (3 mins)
  • Child’s pose (10 breaths)

Savasana (5 mins)

Oms and conclude (2 mins)

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