Like the family of poses called inversions, back bending poses can elicit a love-hate relationship with yoga practitioners. This fact sparked a post I wrote a while back called “Befriending Backbends”.
My intention for the sequence I’m going to teach tomorrow is to introduce a little anatomy, do some warm-ups that include passive backbends, followed by the more classic backbends.
Here’s a few basic points for the “simple backbends” you do lying in the prone position:

  1. Make sure you use your deep neck flexors to lift your head.
  2. Hollow your abdomen as you lift up, but keep your bottom ribs on the floor.
  3. Squeeze your thighs lightly.
  4. Keep your buttocks firm but not clenched.
  5. Use your mid-back muscles to strengthen your shoulder blades.
  6. Keep your shoulder blades down toward your waist.
  7. Move your groins away from your kidneys and your kidneys toward your head.
  8. Most of all, don’t be pushy.
Warm-up:
Lying down, block pose
Lying down, urdhva hastasana
Pelvic lifts
Standing, urdhva hastasana
Garudasana
Dynamic:
Adho mukha svanasana
Step-back lunges
Tadasana
Parsvakonasana
Virabhadrasana 1
Trikonasana
Ardha Chandrasana
Prasarita Padottanasana
Preparation for Pincha Mayurasana
Salabhasana
Bhujangasana
Dhanurasana
Urdhva Dhanurasana
Parsva Uttanasana
Setubandhasana
Sarvangasana
Halasana
Marichyasana 3
Janu Sirsasana
Savasana
Sitting
Salabasana
Here’s a home practice question which comes from a yoga teacher:
Would you suggest to plan my daily practice ahead and/or keeping a practice journal? I seem to resist that because I believe I then would tend to mentally hold onto thoughts which were just arising for the moment/the day… and that might distance me from what I really need to see/feel in the given moment. But then, on the other side I am afraid to possibly stagnate with certain asanas, meditation  and my pranayama exercises (which probably repeat themself if I won’t review them).
From Eve: What I like to do is think about what I want to teach over a week period. I write it up as a lesson plan, sort of like the above sequence, just broad brush strokes. Then, this will be my practice for each day, and as I do it myself, on repetition it becomes something I can teach “out of my bones”. I tweak the plan according to the level I’m teaching and to the “mood” of each class.
Recently I thought I might need some fresh input because there is always  that possibility of stagnation, so I picked up BKS Iyengar’s Light On Yoga. The appendix has more programs than one would be able to do in several years.