Level 1: Beginner
- Strengthens the spine
- Lengthens the front body
- Heart-opener, stretches the shoulders and chest
- Relieves stress and fatigue
- Firms the buttocks and inner legs
- Can aid digestion by stimulating lower abdominal organs
- Some women find it beneficial for menstrual cramps
- Prepares the body for deeper backbends
Contraindications/Cautions (consult your physician):
- Injuries/inflammation of the spine, wrists, shoulders, elbows
- Peptic ulcers
- Carpal tunnel
- Pregnancy- avoid
- Start lying prone (on your front) on the mat, with the forehead resting on it.
- Place the hands directly under the shoulders, and have the legs either together or hip-distance apart depending on what is comfortable. Gently squeeze the elbows into the body.
- Inhale into the middle of the chest with a sense of expansion.
- Exhale and press the tops of the feet and the pubis into the mat, keeping the legs active.
- Inhale and begin to lift the cervical and thoracic spine up off the mat, using the strength of the back and only using the arms for support, not to force the lift. Keep the neck neutral and the gaze forward. Either breathe here for a few rounds of breath, or…
- Exhale and lower the upper body down with control, resting one cheek on the mat and breathe normally. (If you only stayed up for one inhalation you can repeat steps 5 and 6 and rest the opposite cheek on the mat for 3-5 rounds).
- Can be done as a posture in its own right, or as part of Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar).
- Activate the pelvic floor on the inhalations to support the lower back on the lift.
- Only lift up as far as you are able to so that you could lift the hands away and maintain the posture. You should not feel any pain during the posture, do not over-do it.
- Rest in Child’s Pose or hug the knees into the chest afterwards.