Whenever working on backbending/heart opening I like to begin with some gentler backbends as a warm up. Stay in each pose for a few breaths, but only as long as is comfortable for you and while you can breathe easily. Backbends can be really intense so go at your own pace and modify as needed!
Begin facedown on the mat, with your hands by your ribcage and shoulders rolled back and down. Squeeze the glutes and press into your hands while lifting the upper body for cobra. Lower back down after several breaths. Reach your arms behind you and clasp the hands together. Lift the upper body and legs off the ground while reaching the arms back for locust pose. Do your best to keep your legs together. Lower down to the mat after several breaths. Next, bend both legs at the knees and reach your arms back, grabbing the ankles. Lift the chest up and ‘kick’ the legs back for bow pose. Feel free to rock back and forth if that feels good for you. Lower back down to the mat after several breaths in bow and come up onto your knees for camel pose. Keep your knees hip width distance apart and place your hands on your lower back as you push your chest forward and move into camel. Keep the hips stacked over the knees and reach back for your heels if that feels good. Focus on staying extended through the spine in this pose and not ‘dumping’ into your lower back (ouch!). Stay here for a few breaths and slowly return to an upright position. Rest in child’s pose to counteract the backbending you just went through!