I had an amazing yoga class at Yoga Tree in San Francisco. One of the highlights was this variation of Ustrasana, which I hadn’t seen before. In this variation, you do Ustrasana with your thighs facing the wall. This variation has great benefits: by pressing your legs against the wall, you bend backwards with your abdominals rather than just throwing your head back. It helps you integrate your ribs with the rest of your front body and is a great way to focus on ab strength in your backbends! And we all could use a little more core.
- Fold your mat in half 3 times and place it next to the wall to get a nice cushion for your knees.
- Kneel in front of the wall with your legs pressing into the wall.
- Bring your hands to your low back, fingers facing up or down.
- Lean backwards, focusing on pressing your thighs and hip points to the wall, keeping length in your lower spine, and tightening your core muscles. The point of this variation is not see how far back you can bend, but to feel the backbend coming from your abdominal muscles.
- After a few breaths, return to upright, and try it again!
What do you think about this variation? My lower back felt great in this pose, and I’m very excited to integrate this variation into my regular practice for a while.Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,
Samantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.