Modern life has declared war on your back.

Okay, I admit that may sound a bit dramatic. But we do spend more and more of our time hunched over a desk, slouched in front of a TV screen, or bent double in a half-sized economy class seat. Live for too long in that position, and over the course of months and years your body stiffens up and remains that way.

The natural counter to constant forward flexion is to bend in the opposite direction. But be careful! Performed incorrectly, backbends can result in injury. Done properly, they’re a great health-promoting exercise.

We receive a lot of questions about backbends here on the blog. And so we flipped through the Shapeshifter Media rolodex (does anyone even have those anymore???) and brought in our resident yoga expert to put the question to rest once and for all.

Kris Fondran is an exercise physiologist and certified yoga instructor, and she’s put together a safe, incremental progression that you can use to work up to full bridge or wheel pose.

If you follow her cues, you can be sure that the next time the boss asks you to bend over backwards, you’ll do so with ease.

Once again, your progression is:

  1. Simple back bend
  2. Cobra pose
  3. Shoulder pose

Each movement has several important performance cues associated with it, so be sure to study the video closely before you attempt these movements.

And as always, post any questions in the comment section and we’ll ask Kris to stop by and answer them.

Check out her amazing Shapeshifter Yoga program. She’ll have you feeling more flexible and looking slimmer than ever — without setting foot in a gym.