A yoga back bending bench can assist in a variety of asana including Urdhva Dhanurasana, Supta Padangusthasana and most heart-opening stretches. If you would like to hold the back bend for an extended period of time, using the bench can be advantageous as opposed to supporting yourself with your arms alone. Some yoga prop companies offer back bending benches for a high price. Building the bench yourself will save you money.
Cut the plywood into two semicircles to form the frame of your bench. The semicircle should measure about 1-1/2 feet high at the highest point and 5 feet long. It is preferable to shape the plywood into a half-heart shape rather than a completely round semicircle. By tapering one end, you will give yourself the traditional backbend bench shape.
Sand any rough edges on your plywood slats. Remember: you will be laying on this device, so you should aim to round any corners and remove all splintered wood.
Fix the first slat into place to one side of the bench. The slats will form the actual bridge on which you will lay, so it is important to fix the slats firmly. Do this by applying wood glue then using a nail gun to hold the slat in place. Do this with the first three to five slats, following the curve of the semicircle, and then fix the slats to the other side of your bench.
Continue fixing slats along the bench at even distance from each other until you have formed a bridge. Slats should be close enough together to support your body. However, leaving a 2 to 3-inch gap in between slats will allow you to form the round bench with rigid, flat slats. It is the gap between the slats that allows for the curves to happen seamlessly.
Clamp the final product together once the slats are in place using a vice. Place the vice perpendicular to the bench, anchoring the plywood on either side to the slats. If possible, place one clamp on either side of the middle of the arch. This will help the wood glue to seal evenly throughout the bench. Leave the bench in the clamp for at least 24 hours to allow the wood glue to dry appropriately.
Rather than building a bench, consider purchasing yoga props such as blocks or bolsters. These props can be placed in a manner to allow for support but will remain much easier to transport and store.
Tips and warnings
- Rather than building a bench, consider purchasing yoga props such as blocks or bolsters. These props can be placed in a manner to allow for support but will remain much easier to transport and store.