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How to Do a Drop Back in Yoga

Just When You Thought Wheel Pose Couldn't Get Any Harder

Take your upper-body-building backbends to a whole new level — start standing instead of lying on your back. This advanced move, known as a drop back, requires the spinal flexibility of Wheel pose along with some serious core strength to lower your hands to the floor with control. This move looks way too difficult to try on your own do not try it on your own at home, but do keep reading to learn an easier modification using a wall so you can work on building up to it.

  • First and foremost, before attempting to drop back, you must be warmed up. This move always comes toward the end of an Ashtanga or Vinyasa class, after you have been moving for over an hour. Another option is to work on your drop back after a cardio workout.
  • Once you're thoroughly warmed up, focus on readying your spine for the drop back by holding each of these poses for at least five breaths each.

Camel

Half Wheel

Wheel

  • When your spine feels warm and ready, stand at the top of your mat. Inhale to bring the hands together in front of the heart. Widen your stance so your feet are a little wider than hip-width apart, bend slightly at the knees, and exhale as you lean your head back and arch slowly. Keep pressing your weight forward into your feet while arching the spine as much as you can — this encourages the abs to engage, helping you to lower with control and avoid crashing down on your head. Raise the hands overhead, landing on the palms in Wheel pose.
  • Rock your weight forward into your feet, and using your core and legs, inhale to stand up.
  • Repeat this sequence four more times, then release the lower back into a Standing Forward Bend.
  • If you're not ready for the full drop back, enlist the help of your friend the wall. Just stand about three or so feet facing away from the wall. Arch back, and walk your hands down the wall toward the ground as far as you can (you don't have to go all the way to the floor) and then walk them back up. Repeat four more times.
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