Posts Tagged ‘backbends’

St Kilda, Australia: October 12 – 14, 2018

February 14, 2019

Workshop at St Kilda Iyengar Yoga Studio

Ustrasana with wall, Chair and Bolsters. Roll outer arms in. Move outer elbows to inner elbows. Keep the navel as close to the wall as possible.

The belt which I placed at the upper back provided tremendous length through the entire spine, and a fulcrum for an upper back curve. I asked her to connect her outer/upper arms back into the backs of the shoulder sockets.

This shape is similar to Urdhva Hastasana in Dandasana.There should be an internal rotation of the arms. Locate them back into the sockets.

Holding a belt between wrists and side hips…

…helped us see the midline. Student is being instructed: in order to avoid dropping the lumbar forward, to roll the buttocks down.

The brightly painted roads are a memory of the victory in the Australian courts earlier this year for same-sex marriage.

The St Kilder theme park is the oldest theme park in the world. Visually, the inside is as wonderful as the outside!

© 2019 Bobby Clennell

Singapore: September 21 – 23, 2018

February 9, 2019

Workshop at Cocoon Studio Pte Ltd

Adho Mukha Svanasana. Practicing with the forearms on blocks provides better access to armpits, and breast and lung tissue.

Adho Mukha Svanasana with Baddangullyasana, arms behind.

Rope Bhujangasana. Here the feet are one ft. apart. Then learn to practice with the feet together. Rotate the inner thighs back, and move the tailbone forward and up. Raise the ribcage and the entire torso up. Curve up and back.

Rope Purvottasana. In this variation, the ropes are doubled over. To curve further back, open them to their full length. See page 89 of Yoga In Action. Intermediate Course -1, for the best instructions for this, and Rope Bhujangasana.

Uttitha Trikonasana on the Ropes

Virasana with upper body curved back over a chair.

Upper Body Back Bend over a chair.

Urdhva Dhanurasana. Press down through the hands, raise the heels, press the tailbone up, and extend and open the top/front groin skin.

Continue pressing the tailbone up, and maintain the extension of the front groin skin while slowly bringing the heels down (outer knees to inner knees).

© 2019 Bobby Clennell

Saddle Street Farm, Dorset, UK: April 10, 2018

July 9, 2018

The plan for this afternoon.

Keep your heels pressed firmly against the chair legs and then lift your pelvis so that it doesn’t drag. This is a chest opener, but while curving over the chair, in order to help maintain a healthy bone density squeeze your tailbone and grip the gluteal muscles onto the pelvis.

When there is no tall stool available, a chair and three bolsters works almost as well. Observe the difference between the two poses: Guruji has supported his chest so that it opens to the maximum.

© 2018 Bobby Clennell.

Hangzhou: November 15 – 18. 2017

March 16, 2018

Workshop at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of China in Hangzhou.

Helping this student touch base .

To reach the floor with the fingers, coil and firm the back ribs.

Practicing in the lunch hour, I am on the left. Unbeknown to me, my translator is copying me – she’s on the extreme right, and her friend, facing in toward her  is copying her!

Workshop finished and going to dinner, feeling happy.

© 2018 Bobby Clennell.

Denmark: April 29 – May 1

August 10, 2016

Workshop at Studie Yoga.


Press your sit-bones down. Curving back over the chair seat, pull your back ribs up then forward toward your chest. Rotate your upper arms in, straighten your elbows and extend through the tips of your fingers.


If you are ever in Copenhagen, I recommend you drop into Bob for a delicious bio organic meal.

© 2016 Bobby Clennell.

Workshop at EssentialYoga Studio, Andover, MA

June 20, 2012

Propping your backbends:

Practice starts with the feet:

Many thanks to Roberta McCarty DellAnno, who hosted the workshop at EssentialYoga Studio, for her great photos.

Photos © 2012 Roberta McCarty DellAnno.

August Workshop in Punta Gorda 2011

September 6, 2011

At the Yoga Sanctuary’s new premises in Punta Gorda, Florida, I taught my second summer workshop, beginning on Friday evening, August 11, with a class for breast cancer patients and survivors.

Pelicans at the Peace River Wildlife Santuary, Punta Gorda

On Saturday, we moved to the Punta Gorda Women’s Club, a ‘heritage’ building next door for the menopause and post menopause workshop, as the class was too big for the Yoga Santuary. I have taught (and continue to teach) this workshop around the world, and it’s always interesting to see how this subject plays out among women in the various regions and countries. Despite the drug companies bombardment with products to make menopause ‘go away’, women are very much open to taking charge of themselves using natural methods and learning how to navigate through any disturbances brought on by hormonal shifts during this transition with yoga.

Supported Paryankasana

Curving the dorsal spine around the front of a chair

Sunday was backbends, which are always a joy to teach. The workshop built up from the base; we looked at all of the components of a good back bend. Strong arms and legs definitely help if you are going to be pushing up from the floor — but there are other ways of achieving a back bend. In this workshop, we came to an understanding that we need to bend more from the upper (dorsal) spine and less from the lower (lumbar) spine. As these pictures show, variations of Paryankasana strongly featured in this workshop, as well as using chairs to curve over. I have been featuring these poses over the last twelve months or so in all my back bend workshops for women.

Here is my Viparita Dandasana demo, with chair and block. The key to a good pose is the extension through the legs and heels

Urdhva Danurasana with blocks under hands

© 2011 Bobby Clennell.