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1. Bhujangasana (Cobra)
2. Salabasana (Locust)
3. Ustrasana (Camel)
4. Dhanurasana ( Bow Pose)
5. Anjurasana (Crescent Moon)So my yogis for top heart-opening and working into the lumbar and sacral spine – say hello to backbends !!

Ideal following some dynamic heating of the body after a dynamic sun salute or even following some opening through the hips and slow forward bends.
Here is my top 5!!

1. Bhujangasana: The most accessible and well know backbend. Cobra or mini cobra, or Sphinx are all variations of this asana. This is ideal following a child’s pose or a forward fold and really works on the shoulders, middle back, and lower back. Be sure to relax the shoulders, switch on the core, and relax the butt. A slight tilt of the head can allow your gaze to the curling but don’t overdo it!

2. Salabasana: The flying locust pose is a great asana for developing core strength and overall elongation of the spine. The asana begins by lying on the tummy bending the elbows, gently lifting the chest arms and forehead of the matt. Then work on lengthening through the thighs, hamstrings and calves – flex those toes and elongate and lift. Extend the arms ahead of you – or if a little more advanced bring the hands behind your back. Inhale and exhale the breath to open and expand through the heart centre !! Lift and Lift! Take 5-6 breaths then release. Try this x3 and relax. Rest the right cheek on the matt and surrender.

3. Ustrasana: One of my all-time favourites – either for a gentle release or full-body backbend. Begin on your knees, seated on your heels. Liftoff the heels, begin placing your hands onto the middle back and gently ease your lumbar and sacrum forward- perhaps gazing to the ceiling. Do not drop your head back, be mindful of any neck issues. Lean back – deepen the breath. Return to child pose.

4. Dhanurasana: Bring on the bow! Virtually an upside-down wheel pose. This asana is said to stimulate the entire chakra system – and be one of the most beneficial asanas to practice. Full body strength it energises cleanses and enlivens the mind and heart. We can engage in a Half Bow by just catching the heel if the left or right heel and elongate and lengthen the opposite arm. Alternatively, Full Bow lie on the belly and catch both heels with the palms of the hands, avoid the ankle and clenching focus on the toes above or below the ankle. Inhale and draw the elbows in and away from the shoulders. Expand and expand breathing deeply, open your heart and connect to the breath.

5. Anjurasana: Crescent Moon. A favourite of mine when practising Moon Salutations which is a very lovely flow to do during the evening or after a long day, maybe at the office, study and a more mellow salute. In addition, great full-body strength and heart open. Focus on lifting and elongating the arms, soften the shoulders. Ease into a backbend by engaging the core – watch the lower back. Avoid straining. Ensure to repeat the left and right side and feel the full benefit.

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