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in the same position as in Setu Bandha Sarvangasana. Place your hands on the floor beside your ears, shoulder-distance apart, fingertips just beneath the shoulders. Draw your elbows shoulder-distance apart and turn your hands out slightly if you need help moving the elbows into alignment. You don't want your elbows opening out to the sides, away from the midline, which can cause damage to the soft tissue in the shoulder and create tightness at the base of the neck and in the upper back. On an exhalation, lift up partway and lower onto the crown of your head. (Avoid dragging your head into position, which can compress the neck.)

From here, Rizopoulos advises three steps to prepare yourself to go up. First, keep your feet and knees hip-distance apart and recommit to maintaining your elbows back, shoulder-distance apart. Next, pull your elbows away from the wall to drawyour arms deeper into their sockets. Then lift your sternum toward the wall (without lifting your head) to bring a deeper curve into the thoracic spine.

Now you're ready for liftoff. Maintain these actions and inhale; slowly lift your shoulder blades and sacrum simultaneously and evenly to press straight up. Stay focused on the intention of creating an even curve as opposed to getting as high up as you can. Move toward a 180-degree angle in your shoulders, re-creating the openness you worked on in Adho Mukha Svanasana and Adho Mukha Vrksasana. Keep your arms and legs parallel to each other. Spin your triceps toward your face to maintain the external rotation in your arms that will prevent your armpits from puffing out toward the wall behind you. Keep your knees slightly bent and stack them directly over your ankles — straightening your legs in Urdhva Dhanurasana can cause compression in the back and overstretching in the armpits.

Most important, stay with the true shape ofyour pose. Ifyou notice tightness in the hip flexors or shoulders, simply make a mental note of it and be present with the sensation there; avoid compensating by pushing into the lower back. Re-create the hands of Adho Mukha Vrksasana and the feet of Adho Mukha kripalu healthy living programs what have you got to lose?

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© e»plor rig tfeie yotja of lite.

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e»plor rig tfeie yotja of lite.

Stockbridge, MA 800.741.7353


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