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Season 5 - Episode 8

Yoga Backbends

30 min - Practice


Build towards Camel Pose in this yoga back bending class that will leave you feeling supple, strong, and open.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


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Hey there, welcome. My name is Robert Sedoti, and this class is going to be, we'll call it like a yoga backbends class. We're going to work toward camel pose, a couple variations, a few poses that might help you to kind of get into it safely, find your full expression. But along the way, you know, we're going to kind of build toward that. So we're going to start seated with your legs crossed in whatever fashion works for you.

And let's close our eyes just for a couple of moments, all right, a couple moments, maybe three breaths, and ground yourself preparing for the practice and whatever that means for you personally. Let's take two more breaths together. Breathe in and breathe out. One more time. Breathe in and breathe out.

Cool, good to see you here. Let's have a little, little movement practice here. So take the arms overhead, inhale, exhale to the right. So rotate the upper body to the right, take the left hand to the right thigh, right hand back behind you, find your two spots where your hands are, let's get a little leverage as you soften your shoulders down, maybe like cycle in and out, just as we're warming up, you breathe in, you move away from the pose a little bit, breathe out, move back toward it, breathe in, move away and breathe out. Nice.

Naturally, let the body come back to center, reset, inhale, arms overhead. That helps to just get the length, right? Get tall, breathe in, breathe out, rotate, kind of like helicopter arms, right? To the left, right hand to the left thigh, left hand back behind you, find your two spots where you're holding and use those holdings to deepen on the exhale, release on the inhale, breathe in here as you released, exhale, rotate, maybe even pull that low belly in a little bit, feel that support it might give to the low back. Breathe in, release, breathe out, rotate, great.

Let it release naturally. Arms up again, breathe in, let the right hand drop the right hand down, keep the left arm up. The palm is facing toward the right and you're, it's just, it's nicer on the shoulder. So give it a shot. Reach up, stretch up and over to the right.

If it feels good to drop that right forearm down, go for it. This is a lateral flexion of the spine. So a nice side bending position. Back up to center, reach the right arm up as you drop the left hand down. Reach up, side bend to the left.

You know, if I'm giving you cues, but it doesn't quite address a certain interest of yours, go for it, right? Press pause and we'll revisit together once you've explored. Back to center, both arms down and then big sweeping position up, inhale, exhale the hands to your knees or your thighs, inhale a little seated cat cow. So cow pose, heart up, exhale, round out the back, maybe even walk your fingers forward. Round out the back body, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

One more, breathe in and exhale. Inhale to neutral, move to tabletop. So come on on over to tabletop. We'll continue maybe two rounds, three rounds of cat cows. So get that spine nice and supple and moving around, inhale, cow pose, exhale, cat.

When you're in cat, push that ground away as much as you can, feel that upper back shoulder blade area really spread out and broaden back to neutral puppy pose with some nice extension and lengthen the spine. Walk the hands forward. Keep your hips right up over the knees and mindful of your back, right? Your spine and the shoulders. So walk the hands forward.

Maybe the forehead touches down. If it's too intense on the shoulders, bring the elbows down to release that tension in the shoulders, so that upper portion of your spine is kind of what we're looking for. So when you exhale, let that portion of the spine release or potentially release. Sinks pose, come right on to the front of the body. Hips come down, pull the shoulders back, chest up, gaze forward, good.

Lower down as you're lowering, you slide the hands into cobra position. Inhale cobra, exhale table, thread the needle, walk the left hand forward a little bit, reach the right arm high, rotate through the chest, the rib cage, breathe in, breathe out. We'll do one warm up, breathe out, sweep the right hand, palm facing up underneath the left arm, and then one more time, breathe in, breathe out, rotate, rotate, rotate and set that right shoulder down, your head down. Walk the left arm out as far forward as you can, kind of like you had that arm in puppy pose. Level out the hips, feel that rotational sensation.

Slide the left hand back so you can use it as some support to exit up and open again, breathe in and breathe out, let's do a dog pose in between. So curl the toes, lift the knees, so this would be like the neutral position, right? Neutral position of the spine, heels lifting and pressing down, lift up, press down. When you exhale, bring the knees back down to the mat, left side. Inhale the left arm high, exhale, one time over as a little warm up, hover, inhale, bring it high, and exhale, bring it over, palm facing up, left shoulder down, head down, slide the right arm forward, wiggle around in the hips to find a good spot there, make sure you can breathe, maybe even like lift out of the pose a little bit, meaning like lift the right shoulder up and then drop that right shoulder back down, you might find some little release in that upper back.

Walk the right hand back, push to straighten that right arm, exit by lifting that left arm back up, inhale and exhale tabletop. From table back into down dog, you know, in down dog, it's definitely important, I feel, to stretch all of your fingers out as much as you can and plug them, secure them, suction them down, press, so you really feel grounded in the hands, that transitions into the arms, into the shoulders and everything then feels kind of connected. Okay, definitely secure the left hand and arm as you reach the right hand back toward the left calf, ankle, you choose, somewhere around there, reach back, grab hold of the outside and then maybe take a little gaze underneath the left arm, it's a similar sensation as that thread the needle pose, just another opportunity to move the spine, take care of your back, build strength while doing so, okay, switch it up, secure the right hand, forearm etc, reach the left hand to the outside of that right leg, feel all those nice little connections and then gaze underneath the right, oh hey, there you are, maybe you're gazing this way also and we just said hello, maybe you're looking the other way, okay, back over to down dog, ah good, breathe in, breathe out, table, okay, we're gonna open up the hip a little bit, the front of the hip, hip flexors if you will, now maintain table, go ahead and extend the right leg back as far as it will go, maybe point through the toes and then lift the right leg as much as it will go and then lift the chest, so it's almost like cow pose with a leg extended, you might feel that in your right buttocks, good, keep screwing the hands in, strong arms, strong pose and you can feel like a gentle little back bend happening here, bring the right knee down, cat push the ground away, draw the tailbone down toward the floor so you get that full rounded flexed spine, pull up through that low belly like you're trying to squeeze all those muscles back to neutral, extend the left leg back, point through the left toes, start to feel the action of that left leg as you lift it high, high, high, lift the gaze forward, arch the back, hold and breathe, so this is just like a nice strong stable feeling posture, chest open, shoulders back, and one more cat, so pause here, breathe in, breathe out, fully round to your biggest cat pose you can get, push the ground away, maybe even come up onto the fingertips, push, push, push, push, push, round, round, round, round, round, breathe and back to neutral, okay, we're gonna explore puppy pose one more time, walk the knees back a little bit, now walk the hands forward and you might feel a little more open now, I don't know, we'll see, chest down, maybe even your chin, if you're super bendy, your chest might even touch the ground, I am not that bendy, so I'm gonna kind of like work with where I am, maybe your forehead or your chin, you could even try, notice the difference between palms down and palms up, again there's that rotation of the shoulder joint that might feel a little more user friendly, you might be able to access more space let's say, Sphinx pose, palms up, receiving all the goodness there in the back, palms down, here, straighten out the arms a little bit or keep them bent, maybe take a little gaze over the left shoulder, little gaze over the right, just like what's up back there, what's up back there and bring it back down, super good, slide back into the cobra position for the hands, lift the chest cobra pose, pull the shoulders back, pull the elbows back, feel the muscles in the spine nice and strong or muscles in the back, shall I say, and exhale downward facing dog, back to that neutral spine, back to that breath of yours, just kind of patiently meandering through the body with the spine as the focus, I'm going to step via three legged dog, so lift the right leg up, that kind of like that same position we were in before with the leg extended, we're going to step the right foot to the right thumb, exhale and step, bring the back knee down, untuck the back toes or keep them curled up to you, good, now we'll just kind of take a few moments to flirt with the hips here, right, so maybe pull away from the pose, drop the tailbone down a little bit, that might be like the perfect spot, a little more of a kind of neutral position, but if you'd like a little deeper, right, try to maintain that pelvis position, neutral, we'll call it and draw the right knee forward, we're just kind of protecting the back that way, take the left arm, reach it up, right hand can rest on the right thigh, take that right left arm up a little side bend over to the right, some good length up through the left, beautiful, now clasp your hands back behind you, you could push your palms together if that's available or the palms might spread apart, now here again more of a neutral lunge or a deeper lunge, roll the shoulders back, draw the fists down or the knuckles down toward that back leg and press the chest up, up and away, beautiful, use your core, kind of pull the stomach muscles in to exit, neutral again, arms reach up, clasp the hands or maybe index finger long cross the thumbs, bring the arms back as far as you can, stay right here, reach up, lift the rib cage like you're trying to lift the rib cage out of the body and then maybe send the chest up, maybe lean into it a little bit, I'm not sure what is available to you but you by listening and feeling can figure that out, keep tracing the index fingers high and back, let's exit on out with a lot of gratitude for the ability to move your body like this, your spine, loosen up the neck a little bit there, little side to side, can we take three breaths here together, just keeping it super simple, feel the sensations in the legs, the arms, the rest of your body, lift your left leg up, take that nice kind of patient quality you've created and we'll take it into the left side, left foot, left thumb, bring the right knee down, land, rise up, flirt with that right side now, come out, I just find it so worthwhile, set the pelvis, the tailbone softens down, the pubic bone lifts, you may even be like wow man, that is a new thing and that's enough, right there, right there, feel that, maybe even exaggerate the feeling by reaching that right arm up, whoa, left hand to the thigh just for a little support and a little side bend, back to center, clasp the hands once again, great, spend a little time rolling the shoulders up and back, I've had my right toes curled for a while now, I'm going to undo, change it up a little bit and set the pelvis, stay here, this is plenty or lean into it, track the knuckles back toward that right hamstring area, the back of your right leg, press the chest upward, shoulders back, a little freedom in the neck, good, use your core, sound effects always help to exit, pause, feel the aftermath, after effects, arms now reach, now not if you're doing it right, because it's not about that, but you might, it's super normal to feel really kind of taxed and like you're using a lot of muscle and stability to hold the shape down here, so if you're feeling that, that's a really good thing, arms up, clasp the hands index finger long, lean into it a little bit, lift the heart, rib cage, find your gaze, your breath, on your exhale the hands come on down, downward dog, okay, went from that little back bend feeling in the spine, now you're a little bit more neutral, again, down dog, great neutral posture, plank pose, you maintain the neutral position of the spine, exhale lower yourself all the way down, cobra inhale, exhale table, camel pose, lift on up, okay, so start with the curled toes, just because it's a nice way to enter, okay, same thing I just did with the lunge, right, you want to drop the tailbone down a bit, you might feel a little squeeze in the butt muscles and a little length through the hip flexors, once you feel secure and strong there in the legs and this whole scene, reach the right fingertips back towards your right heel, send the left fingertips up high, good and as you're reaching up and back you might send the hips forward as long as your low back is safe, lift up and back just a little bit and bring it down, right arm reaching, extend the spine first, right, get that nice beautiful length, exhale the right hand down, let's do one more left one more right, reach the left arm up, exhale the left arm down, reach the right arm up as you inhale and bring it back down, let's try grabbing hold of the heels, right, so for me I kind of lean back just a little bit, don't lose the position here, grab hold of the heels, alright, we've done a few things to kind of set ourselves up for that, once you grab hold don't dump into it, what I want you to do is actually pull up on the heels, send the hips forward, send the heart up, open the shoulders, breathe across those collarbones of yours, maybe play around with the head tilting up and back, this is a strong pose, breathe in, breathe out, one more time, breathe in, breathe out, left hand left hip, right hand right hip, boom, take a pause in kneeling pose, so if your knees accept that, well your ankles also, sit back, pause, hands on the thighs, little upright neutral position, shoulders relaxed, just an opportunity to kind of check in, right, that was potentially a lot, let's do one more round, alright, so push back up, this time maybe the toes don't curl, because when you curl the heels lift, it's a little more accessible, so be honest with yourself, heels up, heels down, up to you, I'm going to reach back, grab hold of the heels as they're down, pull up on the heels, opens the shoulders, chest, hips forward, breath alive, alright, this is a movement, this is like, this is a back bend, right, it's extension of the spine, you're designed to move like this, find your range of motion, breathe, again with strength, exit, kneeling, pause, walk the hands forward into a little child's pose, or a lot of child's pose, so this is helpful in kind of like now stretching and lengthening out that low back that may have got a tiny bit grumpy, hopefully not, in fact come out of it a little bit, draw the knees a little closer together, this will really kind of add that opposing sensation in the low back, as your belly rests on the thighs, don't worry about your head touching, you can even like stack your fists, rest your forehead on the stack fist, pause, breathe, feel, okay, downward dog, via tabletop, plank, maybe up dog this time, lower down halfway, keep pulling the elbows back, shoulders away from your neck, nice and strong here, upward dog, breathe in, maybe pause and up dog for a moment, look over the left, look over the right, shoulder that is, good, to the knees and to the seat, I'll face you, we can greet once again, okay, here we are, breathe in, breathe out, walk your hands forward, kind of like child's pose but a seated position with the legs crossed and you may feel this potentially lovely stretch in the low back, you could even walk your hands over to the left, you can walk your hands over to the right, back to center, all the way back up, you can do your twist from here, right cross-legged position if where we go doesn't work for you, so lean back, keep your right heel in kind of like underneath your left hamstring, take your left foot across your right thigh, so after all that back bending or kind of extension, it might feel nice to kind of like bring it out or bring it back to neutral, let's say, so both sit bones plugged, right arm hooks around the left knee, relax the shoulders, lengthen the spine, left hand back behind you and rotate twist, good, back to center, might feel good to take both hands over to the right, lift the left sit bones as a little counter twist, nice, back up to center, cross the legs, just like that, right foot outside left thigh, left heel kind of underneath the seat, make sure you can plug that right sit bone down, this time take the left arm around that right knee, hug it in, what I love about this one is that it's not just the spinal twist but by pulling that knee in you get that pigeon sensation up the right hip and it can feel really nice, I don't know about for you but for me it feels good, give it a shot, okay, twist to the right, you can hook the left elbow across the right thigh, that might give you a more sort of deeper sensation in the twist but you lose the pigeon stretch and slowly back to center, good job, lean back across the legs maybe differently than you had before, clasp the hands back behind you, open the chest, inhale, if it's accessible lean forward, reach the hands overhead, all the way back up, roll the shoulders a few times, gentle side bend, and after all that work I think it'll be really nice to lie down for a few moments, so come on down, join me for a short little rest, so options legs bent, might ground your back a little bit, bottoms of the feet together or legs straight out or if you have another option at home legs up a wall but whatever position you choose just let it all go, your back feels super like protected and held, relax your entire body, relax, relax your entire body, relax, relax, relax, relax. One hundred percent feel free to rest for a few minutes, one hundred percent feel free to rest as long as you'd like. Otherwise join me by drawing the knees in and hold on to the shin bones just below your knees or grab hold of your hamstrings. Just give that little like on your back child's pose sensation pulling in and then rock up to sit. We'll greet once again to close keep it really simple here arms overhead breathe in and just with like genuine deep appreciation for being able to move and take care of your body we end with namaste thank you see you next time


Charlie S
1 person likes this.
As a new mum it is difficult to get to the mat- some days I feel that I am too exhausted for it, but I push myself to get here and after practicing with you I am always so grateful that I did. Thanks Robert
Lea M
1 person likes this.
This was the perfect practice to start my day.  
David G-
2 people like this.
Great practice. Love learning new cues, such as "bring your right foot to right toe" was neat, and it worked in focussing my mind in new ways. Camels give such a head-rush. 
Matilda P
2 people like this.
Hello there, welcome, my name is Tilda and about today class I could say only this- I  really really REALLY do not like backbends - if I may start my introduction in way like Robert Sidoti do :). 
I know that I want to change my relationship to them.  I try - for a years, but it seems  to be a long process. 
The class was great. 💙 Thank you Robert again. 
Jenny S
3 people like this.
After being a bit under the weather recently, I really appreciated the sultry pace of this practice. I was indeed a lot more work than I’ve been able to do up to today, but because I wasn’t rushed I was able to sink into the poses and reap the benefits of backbending. As always, I am very grateful for your teaching!
Lina S
3 people like this.
Great class as always!
Sandra Židan
Beautiful practice! Thanks, Robert! Namaste! ❤️
Sylvia K
1 person likes this.
Thanks Robert!  Just what the heart specialist ordered for a cloudy day.  I love the playful and yet sensitive energy you bring to your classes.
Layla T
1 person likes this.
I hadn't done yoga in several months and I chose this one today to ease back onto the mat - what a perfect choice! This was exactly what my busted shoulders and spine needed. I truly feel amazing and love love your classes as always. Thank you so much Robert! Feeling grateful! :)
Robert Sidoti
Charlie S - thank you for sharing! I too feel the same way sometimes with exercise or yoga, but once I get the blood flowing, body moving, everything shifts and i always feel better and never regret it! Good job - keep up the good work!! 
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