Backbends For Shoulders & Upper Back – Weekly Advanced Class 130

Focus: This class approaches urdhva dhanurasana from the perspective of experienced practitioners with an ongoing, regular backbend practice. Some variations are included that will give you improved access to your shoulders and upper back whilst in the pose. Gaining mobility in these areas can help to spread the workload of the backbend more evenly across your body. This can bring a quality of lightness and balance to the pose. Each variation of urdhva dhanurasana progresses in stages of increasing difficulty. This gives you the option of either taking the pose further or staying within your limits and consolidating. 

Key Poses: Urdhva dhanurasana.

Equipment: Mat, 2 chairs, 2 bolsters, 2 blankets, 2 blocks.

Level: Advanced

Duration: 60 min


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  1. Krishnashanti

    Thank you Di for your answer.
    I forgot to add: if the blocks don’t fit right between the legs of the chair, just fill the gaps with a rolled yoga mat. That should make any chair stable enough.
    Thank to the great creativity of Rod, I learned a lot of new ways to use the props that stimulates imagination!

  2. Krishnashanti

    I had the same problem as Caroline with my chair. I resolved it by putting blocks between the legs of the chair so the front legs could not easily slide towards the wall and collapse.
    Thank you Rod, again a great class, it makes me happy for the rest of the day 🙂

    • Di

      Thank you for letting us all know Krishnashanti. Great to have members solving each others issues!


    Thanks so much! I really enjoyed the recent classes, great work. Just one challenge for me is that when I try to do urdva dhanurasana with my arms grasping the chair legs, the chair slides toward the wall and collapses so I can’t push up. My chair only has a crossbar in the back, could that be it?

    • Rod

      Hi Caroline,

      Thanks for your comment. The issue you are having sounds like it might be due to differences in yoga chairs. So unfortunately I am not sure I can suggest anything that will stop your chair from doing that. If there is instability then it’s probably best not to use the chair. You could try slanted blocks instead (on a 45 degree angle up against the skirting board)

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