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Yoga Poses

3 Prep Poses for Adho Mukha Svanasana

Warm up your spine and open your shoulders and chest 
with these prep poses for Adho Mukha Svanasana.

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Warm up your spine and open your shoulders and chest with these prep poses for Adho Mukha Svanasana.

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Cat-Cow Pose

cow pose, bitilasana

Marjaryasana-Bitilasana

Benefit
Stretches your arms; opens your shoulders

Instruction
Place your hands on a wall shoulder-width apart, with your wrists at least at hip height. Check that the inner triads of both hands are firm against the wall and that your index-finger knuckles are heavy. Straighten your arms and walk your feet back until your heels are under your sitting bones. Lower your head between your upper arms and keep pressing your hands into the wall. Lift your sitting bones and engage your quadriceps. Breathe freely through your nose for 10–15 breaths.

See alsoEase Low Back Pain: 3 Subtle Ways To Stabilize the Sacrum

Box on the Wall

shoulder opening pose with wall assist

Benefits
Stretches your arms; opens your shoulders

Instruction
Place your hands on a wall shoulder-width apart, with your wrists at least at hip height. Check that the inner triads of both hands are firm against the wall and that your index-finger knuckles are heavy. Straighten your arms and walk your feet back until your heels are under your sitting bones. Lower your head between your upper arms and keep pressing your hands into the wall. Lift your sitting bones and engage your quadriceps. Breathe freely through your nose for 10–15 breaths.

See alsoAnatomy 101: Understand Your Pectoralis Minor

Bridge Pose

bridge pose, setu bandha sarvangasana

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Benefits
Lengthens your neck; stretches your spine; opens your chest.

Instruction
Lie on your back and bend your knees. Place your feet hip-width apart, close to your buttocks. Inhale to slowly raise your hips. Lift your heels and come up onto your toes. Interlace your fingers, stretch your arms toward your feet, and walk your shoulders under you. Then unclasp your fingers and place your hands under your hips with your fingers pointing out—this helps you elevate your hips. If you can, lower your heels. Press your feet into the floor, bringing even more weight into the shoulders and expansion through your chest. Hold for 5 breaths.

See alsoWake Up Your Body and Mind with Bridge Pose

About Our Pros

eddie modestini nicki doane

Teacher Eddie Modestini is co-founder and co-director of Maya Yoga Studio on Maui, Hawaii. Since 1983, he has studied with preeminent teachers including B.K.S. Iyengar and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. He has a degree in exercise physiology and has taught advanced bodywork techniques.

Teacher and model Nicki Doane is the other co-founder and co-director of Maya Yoga Studio. She teaches workshops and trainings worldwide. Learn more at mayayogastudio.com.