Julie Gudmestad: Making Friends with Backbends – How to Overcome Common Challenges

Mar 05 & 09

Are you intrigued by backbends, but not sure where to begin? Or are you concerned about a vulnerable low back or knees?

Backbends are an important and traditional part of asana practice. However, many yoga practitioners struggle with them, especially students with a sedentary lifestyle, which contributes to slumped posture, tight hips, and compressed internal organs.

Backbend complaints may include back pain, knee pain, neck discomfort and even wrist pain. Many yoga students aren’t sure which poses to work on to overcome these problems and make progress in backbending, and therefore down prioritize backbends in their practice or avoid them completely.

In this 3-part online course, we will take a look at structural issues and muscle imbalances that can make backbends challenging and constructive ways to address these issues in your practice.

Specific areas of focus include chest opening and thoracic spine mobility; hip flexor flexibility and hip extensor strength; as well as shoulder flexibility for the specific backbend you’re training for. We will also look at hip rotation issues that can contribute to knee pain issues in backbends.

The course will include selected poses that you can use to warm up for your backbend practice, and also incorporate into your daily practices to help make long term progress.

Once you’re more comfortable backbending, you will reap the benefits of a more upright posture, improved breathing and digestion, and more energy. With improved energy flow, backbends may also help with depression.

What You Will Learn

  • The anatomy of backbends – main muscle groups and structural factors that impact backbending
  • How to observe common musculoskeletal imbalances that create restrictions in backbends
  • Common alignment issues in backbends and how to observe them
  • Sequencing principles for more effective back bending
  • How to open the chest and create greater mobility in the thoracic spine and shoulders
  • How the muscles of the pelvis impact backbends and how to overcome common issues
  • Key principles to structure a backbending practice to create a foundation for longterm progress

This Course Also Includes:

  • Yoga Practice Video: Enjoy a yoga practice with Julie designed specifically for this course.
  • Recordings of All Webinar Sessions: It’s generally acknowledged that many people only retain 10-20 percent of what they learn in a workshop. You will get access to the recordings of all webinar sessions – both MP3 (downloadable) and MP4 (streaming online), enabling you to go back and listen to the workshop as many times as you like.
  • Transcripts of All Sessions: Ever wanted to refer to a certain part of a course? Even the best note takers miss a point every so often. With the transcripts of the webinar sessions, you can go back and refer to particularly important passages or clarify sections you were in doubt about.
This course qualifies for 3 non-contact hour CEs with Yoga Alliance.


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Julie has devoted her professional life to integrating the healing benefits of yoga with her medical training as a physical therapist. She has integrated decades of patient care experience with 40 years of yoga teaching.

$97/ Lifetime Access

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