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Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend Pose): Meaning, Steps, Benefits & Variations

Welcome to the world of Anuvittasana, where you can awaken your inner strength and bask in the brilliance of your being. This invigorating yoga pose allows you to gracefully arch your back while standing, creating a powerful and liberating experience. In this blog post, we will explore the meaning, benefits, variations, modifications, and safety precautions of Anuvittasana, while providing you with insightful tips and inspiration along the way. So, let's dive in and unlock the magic of this transformative pose!

Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend Pose)

Anuvittasana, also known as Standing Backbend, is a dynamic asana that involves arching the spine while standing upright. The Sanskrit term "Anuvittasana" comprises two words: "Anu," which means "after" or "follow," and "Vitta," which translates to "bending" or "inverted." Thus, Anuvittasana symbolizes the continuation of movement, progression, and expansion that follows the initial bend.

Anuvittasana serves as a metaphorical representation of embracing change and stepping into your fullest potential. Just as the body leans backward and opens up in this pose, it encourages us to release fear, limitations, and self-doubt. By surrendering to the flow of life and the innate wisdom of our bodies, we can discover our true essence and shine with unbridled radiance.

How to Perform Anuvittasana

  1. Begin by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart, grounding yourself firmly into the earth.

  2. Relax your shoulders, lengthen your spine, and engage your core muscles for stability.

  3. Inhale deeply, extending your arms overhead, reaching toward the sky.

  4. As you exhale, gently lean backward, keeping your gaze upward and maintaining a sense of balance.

  5. Allow your hands to rest on your lower back or sacrum, providing support as you continue to arch your spine.

  6. Engage your leg muscles, keeping your knees soft but stable throughout the pose.

  7. Breathe steadily and hold the pose for a duration that feels comfortable for you.

  8. When ready, slowly come back to an upright position, releasing your arms to your sides.

Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend)

When to Do It

Anuvittasana can be practiced as part of your regular yoga routine or as a standalone pose. It is especially beneficial in the morning, as it energizes and invigorates the body, preparing you for the day ahead. Alternatively, you can practice it in the evening to relieve accumulated tension and promote a sense of relaxation.

Preparatory Poses

To prepare your body for Anuvittasana, you can incorporate the following poses into your practice:

  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana): Establishes a strong foundation and enhances body awareness.

  • Camel Pose (Ustrasana): Opens the chest and stretches the front of the body, preparing it for deeper backbends.

  • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): Strengthens the back muscles and increases spinal flexibility.

Follow-Up Poses

After performing Anuvittasana, consider integrating the following poses into your practice:

  • Child's Pose (Balasana): Relaxes the back and restores a sense of grounding.

  • Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): Stretches and lengthens the entire body while providing a gentle inversion.

  • Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II): Strengthens the legs and improves focus and stability.


Anuvittasana primarily activates and balances the Heart Chakra (Anahata). This energy center governs love, compassion, and emotional well-being. By practicing this pose, we can awaken our capacity to give and receive love, fostering harmonious relationships and a deeper connection with ourselves and others.

Heart Chakra (Anahata)

Mantra for This Pose

As you gracefully move into Anuvittasana, you may choose to silently or audibly recite the following mantra: "I open my heart to the divine flow of life. I embrace my true radiance and share it with the world."

Alignment Cues

To ensure safe and effective practice, keep these alignment cues in mind:

  • Ground through the feet and engage the leg muscles to maintain stability.

  • Draw the tailbone down and lengthen the lower back to avoid compression.

  • Relax the shoulders away from the ears and broaden the collarbones.

  • Lift the chest and allow the heart to shine forward while keeping the neck aligned with the spine.

  • Soften the gaze and direct it toward the sky or a focal point in front of you.

Duration of Hold

Initially, hold Anuvittasana for 15-30 seconds, gradually increasing the duration as your practice deepens. Listen to your body and never push beyond your comfort level. Remember, this pose is about expansion, not strain.


In Anuvittasana, maintain a gentle gaze toward the sky or the space in front of you. This upward focus enhances the energetic flow and encourages a sense of upliftment and liberation.

Physical & Spiritual Awareness

Anuvittasana cultivates both physical and spiritual awareness. Physically, you will feel a deep opening in the chest, shoulders, and upper back, promoting better posture and respiration. Energetically, this pose ignites a sense of fearlessness, self-acceptance, and heart-centered living.

Beginners' Tips

If you're new to Anuvittasana, consider these helpful tips:

  • Start with a gentle backbend, gradually increasing the depth over time.

  • Use a wall for support if needed, placing your hands against it to guide and stabilize your movement.

  • Listen to your body's signals and honor your limits. It's okay to take smaller steps and progress gradually.

Who Should Not Do It

While Anuvittasana offers numerous benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. Avoid this pose if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Recent or chronic back injuries

  • High or low blood pressure

  • Heart conditions

  • Pregnancy

Who Should Do It

Anuvittasana is a pose that can benefit a wide range of individuals, including those seeking to:

  • Improve posture and spinal flexibility

  • Strengthen the back and leg muscles

  • Expand their chest and improve respiration

  • Cultivate self-confidence and self-expression

  • Foster emotional well-being and heart-centeredness

Benefits of Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend)

Practicing Anuvittasana regularly offers a myriad of physical, mental, and emotional benefits, including:

  • Increased spinal flexibility and improved posture

  • Strengthened back muscles and enhanced core stability

  • Expanded chest and improved lung capacity

  • Boosted confidence and self-esteem

  • Activated Heart Chakra, promoting love and compassion

  • Enhanced emotional well-being and stress reduction

  • Release of stagnant energy and increased vitality

Variations of Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend)

Once you feel comfortable with the basic form of Anuvittasana, you can explore variations to deepen your practice. Some variations include:

Ardha Anuvittasana (Standing Half Forward Bend)

Meaning: Ardha Anuvittasana, or Standing Half Forward Bend, is a pose where we fold forward from a standing position, creating a gentle stretch in the back of the legs. It encourages grounding and introspection, helping us find balance and presence.

Ardha Anuvittasana (Standing Half Forward Bend)

How to Perform Ardha Anuvittasana

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

  2. Hinge forward at the hips, allowing your torso to descend toward your thighs.

  3. Keep a slight bend in your knees to protect the hamstrings and maintain stability.

  4. Relax your head and neck, letting your arms hang or placing your hands on your shins or blocks for support.

  5. Lengthen your spine and draw your belly towards your thighs.

  6. Take deep breaths and hold the pose for a few moments.

  7. Inhale, engage your core, and slowly rise back up to a standing position.

Baddha Hasta Utthita Stiti Shalabhasana (Hands Bound Rising Locust Pose)

Baddha Hasta Utthita Stiti Shalabhasana, or Hands Bound Rising Locust Pose, is a powerful backbend that opens the heart and strengthens the back muscles. It symbolizes rising above limitations and expressing our true selves.

Baddha Hasta Utthita Stiti Shalabhasana (Hands Bound Rising Locust Pose)

How to Perform Baddha Hasta Utthita Stiti Shalabhasana

  1. Start by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart.

  2. Interlace your hands behind your back, keeping your arms straight and your shoulder blades drawing together.

  3. Inhale, engage your core, and lift your chest and hands away from your body, creating a gentle backbend.

  4. Keep your gaze forward or upward, and breathe steadily.

  5. Hold the pose for a few breaths, feeling the expansion in your heart center and the activation of your back muscles.

  6. Exhale, lower your chest and hands back to your body, and release your hands to your sides.

Modifications for Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend)

If you experience any discomfort or limitations in Anuvittasana, try these modifications:

  • Use a chair: Stand with your back against a chair and place your hands on the seat for support as you gently arch backward.

  • Utilize yoga props: Place a block under your hands or use a yoga strap looped around your upper arms to ease into the pose gradually.

Common Mistakes

Be mindful of these common mistakes to ensure a safe and effective practice:

  • Overarching the lower back: Instead, focus on lengthening the spine evenly throughout the pose.

  • Straining the neck: Keep the neck aligned with the spine, avoiding excessive tension or compression.

  • Forcing the pose: Remember, Anuvittasana is about expansion, not pushing beyond your limits. Listen to your body and practice with compassion.

Safety and Precautions

While Anuvittasana is generally safe, it's essential to take these precautions:

  • Warm up your body with gentle stretches before attempting this pose.

  • Always practice on a non-slip surface and wear comfortable, flexible clothing.

  • If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns, consult with a qualified yoga instructor or healthcare professional before attempting Anuvittasana.

Additional Preparation Tips

To enhance your experience and create a sacred space for Anuvittasana, consider the following suggestions:

Direction to Face: Face east or north while practicing Anuvittasana to align yourself with the positive energies associated with these directions. The East represents new beginnings, vitality, and the rising sun, while the North symbolizes abundance, wisdom, and inner stillness.

What to Wear: Opt for comfortable, stretchy clothing that allows you to move freely. Choose fabrics that absorb sweat and don't restrict your movements, enabling you to focus on the pose without distractions.

Suitable Place and Essential Oil or Fragrance: Select a clean, uncluttered space that provides enough room for you to extend your arms overhead without obstruction. Enhance your practice by incorporating uplifting essential oils like lavender, rose, or citrus scents. These fragrances can promote relaxation, inspiration, and a deeper connection with your breath.

Music for This Pose: To amplify the transformative energy of Anuvittasana, choose soft instrumental music or soothing nature sounds. Alternatively, you can practice in silence, allowing the rhythm of your breath to guide your movement and create a meditative ambiance.

Anuvittasana, the Standing Backbend, invites us to embrace the radiance within ourselves. By mindfully practicing this pose, we can access our innate strength, expand our hearts, and embody the beauty of change and growth. Remember to approach Anuvittasana with patience, respect for your body, and an open heart. Let it be a journey of self-discovery, where you unleash your inner brilliance and step into the fullness of your being. Embrace the transformative power of Anuvittasana and let your spirit soar!

Happy yoga-ing, everyone!


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About the Author

Namaste! I'm Pooja Chauhan

RYT 200Hrs | Meditation Coach 

Diving deep into the realm of yoga to revive its original teachings to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing them with the world.

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