Simple Backbend

This simple backbend is an easy way to relieve shoulder tension—especially if you’ve been hunched over a desk all day.

  1. Kneel down with the tops of your feet on the floor. Sit on your heels.
  2. Place your hands on the floor behind you, fingers pointing back. Lean back and rest your weight on your hands.
  3. Rotate your hips forward and arch your back, lifting from the base of your spine. Gently stretch your neck back if comfortable. Lift your chest away from your shoulders. Breathe normally as you hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Slowly straighten your back and raise your head. 
  5. If you want to increase the shoulder stretch, walk your hands back 6 to 8 inches. Repeat the asana in this position.
  6. Straighten your spine and lift your head. Walk your hands in and rest them on your thighs to relax.


With each inhalation, open your chest further. Keep lifting as you exhale. Lengthen from the base of your spine and into the upper back.

Make It Easier

  • Point your fingers to the sides instead of to the back.
  • Keep your chin slightly tucked instead of stretching your neck back.


  • Opens the chest and shoulders
  • Stretches the spine
  • Develops flexibility in the upper back
  • Improves posture
  • Facilitates deep breathing
  • Tones the kidneys

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