Keys to Refining Alignment in Backbends

Course Info

Class Length:
Two One Hour Sessions Plus Yoga Practice Video
Yoga Teachers
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Doug Keller

Doug Keller Doug Keller’s background reflects a lifelong commitment to studying, imbibing and sharing the vast field of knowledge and practice known as yoga. After receiving honors and graduate degrees in philosophy from the top Jesuit universities in the United States, Georgetown and Fordham Universities, and...
refining alignment in backbends, Doug Keller

Often the instructions customarily given in backbending are based on generalizations and assumptions, as well as attempts at simplification. But this is not always helpful to YOU, particularly when those generalizations don’t apply!

In this course, Doug Keller will be sorting through the many issues of backbending and how they are taught in yoga.

Doug will be surveying instructions that we commonly hear in class — the intention behind them, the biomechanics involved, and how well these cues serve their ultimate biomechanical intention. Issues of sequencing and the question of ‘counterposes’ will be included.

What you will learn:

  • Why students complain of low back pain after Vinyasa practice

  • Most common compensations in backbends contributing to pain, and why they happen

  • The different types of backbends — from upright (Ustrasana) to supine (Setu Bandha / Urdhva Dhanurasana) to prone (Dhanurasana) — and how the relationship to gravity affects the actions of the spine and limbs, as well as the effectiveness of common cues

  • Concerns as to how to avoid 'dumping' into the low back — and what that means

  • Issues behind common instructions:

    • the meaning of alignment phrases such as 'soften your ribs'

    • tailbone actions and how they are expressed — ‘tucking,’ ‘scooping’ and so on — with alternatives that might better lead to the desired stability in the low back and sacrum

This Premium Course Also Includes These Bonuses!

  • Video Practice: Enjoy a 30-minute practice with teaching tips and best practices for teaching backbends. 

  • 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 Both 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 sessions, you can go back and refer to particularly important passages or clarify sections you were in doubt about.


This course qualifies for 3.5 non-contact hour CEs with Yoga Alliance.