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Level 1/2
60 min

Back Bend Essentials

Hatha | By Noah Mazé on Aug 26 2012
Ignite your aspiration and stretch your spine in this strong and focused class of fundamental back bend postures.  This class will warm you up in dynamic standing poses and lead you through a sequence of 'belly down' backbends.  Come ready to work strongly, strengthen your back, stretch your spine and ignite the aspiration of your heart.


Ignite your aspiration and stretch your spine in this strong and focused class of fundamental back bend postures. This class will warm you up in dynamic standing poses and lead you through a sequence of 'belly down' backbends. Come ready to work strongly, strengthen your back, stretch your spine and ignite the aspiration of your heart.


  • Cone P Mantilla     Dec 2nd, 2014
    Its my first time to watch the video class here. An awesome experience to see and listen the details of your instruction in every pose. To be honest this class it takes 9 pages for me to write down your verbal instructions. If I only listen to my teacher Sarah Bohairy before I probably watch number of your videos (but not too late :-)). You're always an inspiration. If I can duplicate your jaw and your tongue I will definitely do that for me to be fluent cuing the students like yours :-). I also followed your advise during my Bali training to watch your classes in yogaglo. Definitely apply this class tomorrow :-). Thanks and blessings.
    • Noah Maze     Dec 2nd, 2014
      Cone!!!! SOOOOOooooo good to see you here! If only Saudi Arabia was not so far. See you soon I hope?!?
  • Alandi Stec     Nov 13th, 2014
    Every time I come back to this class it's just so good! Opens my back up in such a sweet strong and powerful way....thank you!
    • Noah Maze     Nov 16th, 2014
      Thanks for your kind comment Alandi! "See" you in class again soon. :)
  • Whitney Haddow     Nov 4th, 2014
    Wow, this was much more challenging than I anticipated! Loved it though. This was the second class I have done with you and I appreciate how you help us to aspire to the more challenging postures.
    • Noah Maze     Nov 5th, 2014
      I'm glad you felt encouraged to aspire to more challenging postures Whitney. Thanks for practicing. I hope to "see" you in class again soon! xo
  • Pinnada Kengchon     Jul 16th, 2014
    Great class. Thank you.
    • Noah Maze     Jul 17th, 2014
      Thanks for practicing Pinnada! Glad you enjoyed the class.
  • Suzette Haas     May 26th, 2014
    lovely class. really enjoyed it. question, though: what kind of alignment cues would you offer to help the crunching one might feel in the lower back in the backbends? your help would be appreciated. thanks!
    • Noah Maze     May 29th, 2014
      Hi Suzette! Usually when you feel crunching in the lower back the position of your pelvis is causing your low back to shorten. You can lengthen your low back in backbends by lifting the fronts of your hip bones up and lengthening your tailbone down (some people may say "tuck your tailbone"). In belly down backbends this will mean you are pressing your pubic bone down into the floor. In poses where your back side is facing the floor like Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), you are pressing your pubic bone up toward the ceiling. Hope this helps! Let me know how it goes. :)
      • Suzette Haas     Jun 2nd, 2014
        Thanks so much! I have tried that, and that is usually the cue I give when I'm teaching, but I do still feel some compression, most acutely in urdhva dhanurasana. Even properly aligned in every other aspect, I still feel it. I'm beginning to wonder if some bodies were not just designed to go up into full wheel, at least without props. I do notice that I feel less compressed when my feet are on blocks, which makes me wonder if my limbs are not the ideal length for full wheel...? Thoughts? Thanks again. Love your classes.
        • Noah Maze     Jun 3rd, 2014
          Lifting your heels in the pose, or elevating your feet (like on blocks), gives more height and therefore length in your lumbar spine. Tightness in your quads and Psoas group will compress your low back. In addition to working with your feet on blocks, do more thigh stretches and see if that helps! Proportions do affect the pose, for sure, but let's not decide that you are not suited to the pose! Practice, practice, practice... :)
  • Yun-Kyung Kim     Feb 17th, 2014
    It feels as if I could my sense where my back is against the earth for the first time during savasana. Thank you for the inspiring class. It was quite energizing during winter storm.
    • Noah Maze     Apr 21st, 2014
      Wow - that's wonderful Yun-Kyung! I'm glad class helped you to feel energized even in the midst of a winter storm. Namaste~
  • Augen Die     Oct 14th, 2013
    Hi Noah,

    Thanks for the fun video.
    Just watched it together with my boy friend and we definitely had lots of laughs that helped us through some of the more exhausting poses and our backs feel great now =).
    • Noah Maze     Apr 21st, 2014
      Sounds like a successful class! I'm glad it made your backs feel great. Hope to "see" you in class again soon! ;)
  • Kim Wheeler     Mar 19th, 2013
    HI Noah, Thanks so much for this class. I have been a real avoider of back bends - not really ever enjoyed them - they always seem to big and showy. But this class demonstrates the simplicity of using what I enjoy doing and considering going a little further to get to a back bend. You have given me courage - but also relieved that awful sense of "oh now I have to do backbends for a complete practice - maybe I will go and cook supper". Kim
    • Noah Maze     Mar 23rd, 2013
      Kim, thank you for sharing some of your process and reflections. Backbends certainly can be big and showy, but they don't have to be to be effective. The simple ones are highly effective and rewarding. Strong work in fundamental poses feels great, yay!
  • Hind KS     Mar 12th, 2013
    Thank you Noah, this class worked wonders for my tension!
    • Noah Maze     Mar 14th, 2013
      Awesome! And, I note the irony, cause the 'hard work' relieves tension; create optimal tension to relieve excess tension.
      • Hind KS     Mar 17th, 2013
        Very true, I am committed to this class at least twice a week to keep stress out of my neck, shoulders and back!
        • Noah Maze     Mar 18th, 2013
          Great plan! As i've spent much of the day at my computer, I commend that commitment!
  • Angee Franzen     Mar 11th, 2013
    Loved this class, it reminds me that staying steady can be more work then moving through a quick Vinyasa. This class was like trudging the road (walking with intention) of happy destiny.
    • Noah Maze     Mar 14th, 2013
      Angee, thank you for your comment; smart and funny! And true; sometimes it is far harder to slow it down, hold yourself to the work of each step, and not skip steps or moving too quickly. Happy trudging (and whistle a happy tune)!
  • Alison Smith     Mar 11th, 2013
    Perfect class for learning the fundamentals of backbending. The side-body/psoas stretch in lunges was delicious and the steady progression to cobra and up-dog was fantastic. Thanks!
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      Thanks Alison! Happy backbending day to you :)
  • Carol Day Young     Nov 12th, 2012
    Thank you, I learned so much! Backbends without any back pain, with heart-opening joy!
    Carol Day Young
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      YAY!!! That is huge! Keep it up, pass it forward!
  • Heather Malcolm     Oct 24th, 2012
    This is exactly what I needed!! Thank you!
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      You are welcome Heather :)
  • Nadia Rqm     Oct 13th, 2012
    I love the dhanurasana kickbacks and the lunges. You really worked my back and I thank you for it!
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      You are welcome Nadia :)
  • shari kaplan     Oct 5th, 2012
    Perfect entrance back into backbends after healing my locked sacrum. Thank you,
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      Yay! Hope you sacrum is still free! :)
  • Jill Amison     Oct 3rd, 2012
    Fabulous class Noah! Wonderful to be reminded of the necessary essentials to build a solid foundation....Thankyou!
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      Jill, this is one of my favorite ways to teach and to practice. It's how we stay in integrity, and reinforce to foundation to grow from. You are welcome!
  • Alandi Stec     Sep 24th, 2012
    more back bend essentials! thank you noah (and oliver for the inspirations!) :)
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      You are welcome, from me and Oliver :) xo
  • Julia Novina     Sep 23rd, 2012
    Deepest cobra ever! Thanks!
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      The poison is the nectar, as the cobra knows...thanks for taking class Julia :)
  • K A     Sep 19th, 2012
    Thanks! Really enjoyed this, the poses helped me push deeper.
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      Thank you K A!
  • Stephanie Barton     Sep 18th, 2012
    Thank you for this strong heart opening practice today, exactly what I needed before teaching my beginning students about truth and integrity!!! Blessings Noah:)
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      Awesome, thanks for everything you do Stephanie!
  • jacquline Tankersley     Sep 7th, 2012
    That was fun. My babes name is Oliver too, and he was rolling around playing on the floor while I did your class. We almost made it to the end too. Thanks friend.
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      Oh, that is very sweet! Maybe our Olivers will meet one day and we can all do some family yoga :)
  • Emily B     Sep 7th, 2012
    This is exactly what I have been seeking to get me moving forward with back bends. Nice to tap into our inner 8-month-olds for those fundamental postures!
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      Yay! Invoke your inner 8mo! Thanks for taking class Emily!
  • Alexandra Hasselkuss     Aug 30th, 2012
    Thanks Noah! I may have drooled on my mat during salabasana just as Oliver was early morning, what can I say....Lol ;) xoxo
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      Alex, I drool in this pose xox
  • Candice Helena     Aug 29th, 2012
    Thanks for the class just what i needed today! Look forward to your visit in SA soon!
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      Thanks Candice!!
  • Jeanette Darbyshire     Aug 27th, 2012
    Fabulous offering as always. Thanks Noah. Looking forward to what you come up with when your little guy is emptying cupboards and throwing books off bookshelves etc
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      Jeanette, I just filmed THAT class last week...coming soon to a computer near you. Standing...balancing...falling...that is what Oliver is up to now. :)
    • sarah bar     Aug 30th, 2012
      He he! Great comment!
  • Sara LeVere     Aug 27th, 2012
    Hehe. This is like the Anusara take on Bikram without all the forehead-to-knee poses. Fun.
  • Dolores Kent     Aug 26th, 2012
    Love the shoulder stretch!
    Thanks Noah, great class!!
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      Awesome, thanks Dolores!
  • christine stewart     Aug 26th, 2012
    'Fundamentals the building blocks of fun'
    • Noah Maze     Mar 11th, 2013
      So glad it was fun, Christine!