20 minute practices for
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adjust your feet so your fingertips graze the back ofyour heels. Pull your shoulders closer to your ears to soften the trapezius muscles, and turn your palms to face the ceiling. On an inhalation, slowly press down with your feet and lift your hips. Tune in to the places that feel tight, using the physical sensations to focus and direct your mind. Keep your thighs and knees parallel and, while keeping your feet fixed, isometrically drawyour heels toward your buttocks. This will help you use your hamstrings rather than your gluteus muscles to lift, and will release compression across your lower back by preventing your thighs from separating. You'll repeat this movement in Urdhva Dhanurasana.
To complete the pose, interlace your fingers beneath you and, without pulling your shoulders further fromyourears, roll your outer upper arms under and press down through your outer shoulders. Release your inner thighs down toward the floor and extend the flesh of the buttocks toward your knees, lengthening your lower back. This will make the pose feel both wide and long, a spaciousness you'll want to re-create in Urdhva Dhanurasana. Continue to practice smooth, steady breathing, establishing a tone of evenness and calm.
Take 8 to 10 breaths in the pose. Keep your knees directly over your ankles as you release.
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