Backbends shouldn't really be called "backbends", but instead "full body bends" because they involved so much more than just your back. All on its own, your spine has a pretty impressive range of motion, but in order to do a deep backbend, all the muscles and connective tissues that support your spine need to be long and limber. Everyone I know who has an impressive backbend swears by the reclining hero or supta vajrasana posture. Be safe, but if possible, hold this one for a long time.
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