BENEFITS Opens and engages your shoulders, strengthens your upper back, stretches your hamstrings, improves digestion, calms your mind
INSTRUCTION Sit on the floor with your back against a wall and your legs out in front of you. Place a block on the floor next to each ankle (the blocks are just placeholders) to help you gauge the distance you’ll need for the pose. Come to your hands and knees with your heels on the wall and toes on the floor. Come down to your forearms with your elbows in the same line as the blocks—no wider than your shoulders. To make sure your elbows are the correct distance apart, clasp each of your hands on the opposite elbow. Bring your forearms forward again. This time, clasp your hands together to create a triangle shape with your arms. At the same time, isometrically (using a muscular action without actual movement) squeeze your elbows toward one another. On an exhalation, lift your knees, hips, and thighs. Straighten your legs into a forearm variation of Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose). It will feel short, and that is OK: You are on the right track. On an inhalation, start to walk your feet up the wall until they reach hip height. Root your forearms into the floor and move the tops of your shoulders over your elbows. Keep your shoulders where they are as you vigorously press your heart toward the wall and move your tailbone toward the ceiling, which will pull your belly in and up and prevent your rib cage from collapsing. Lengthen your spine and resist the urge
to round your lower back. Let your head be heavy and hang down, keeping it off the floor and off your hands. Hold for up to 10 breaths. On your last exhalation, step one foot down at a time, and rest for a few breaths in Child’s Pose to avoid getting dizzy.
See also 4 Steps to Master Dolphin Pose