Lie flat on the stomach with the legs straight and the soles of the feet uppermost. Place the palms of the hands flat on the floor below and slightly to one side of the shoulders; the fingers should point forwards and the arms should be bent with the elbows facing backwards.
Rest the forehead on the ground.
Close the eyes. Relax the whole body, especially the lower back.
This is the starting position.
Breathe out slowly and deeply.
Then as you breathe in raise the body in the way we will describe.
Slowly bend your head backwards so that the chin eventually points forwards and the back of the neck is compressed. Feel the stretch of the front part of the neck. Now the arms must be brought into play. Slowly raise the head and shoulders off the ground by progressively straightening the arms.
Feel the flexion of the back roll down the spine starting from the neck region and working towards the lower back; try to feel the flexion of each individual vertebra throughout the movement. Remember, it is the arms that execute the movement.
Keep the back and legs as relaxed as possible. Try to keep the navel in contact with the ground; if the navel is raised too high then the bend tends to be at the knees and not the back.
Continue slowly to arch the back as far as flexibility will allow.
In this position the back of your head should point towards your feet.
Your arms may or may not be straight - it depends on the flexibility of your back You will feel tension in the face and will be tempted to open your mouth; try to relax the facial muscles and keep the mouth closed You will feel a pleasantly painful sensation in the lower back; this is a good sign that you are doing the asana correctly. Hold this final pose for as long as comfortable. On exhalation return to the starting position in the same way that we have just described. but in the opposite order. The movement should be slow and synchronized with the breath.
Remember, at the end of the movement the nose should brush along the floor so that eventually the forehead rests on the ground Relax the whole body.
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