Modify Dolphin Pose if needed to find safe alignment for your body.
If your upper arms feel weak, your inner wrists lift, and your hands come together …
Try lacing a block between your hands. Keeping your elbows shoulder-distance apart, press the palms, especially the knuckle of the index fingers, into the block. Keep the bottoms of your wrists rooted and press your forearms down. Extend your fingers forward along the edges of the block. Cut the forearms down through the floor. Engage your outer upper arms. Keep the inner elbows rooted and strongly lift the shoulders up away from your elbows.
See also Upside-Down Prep: Dolphin Pose
If your heels cannot touch the ground and engaging your legs is difficult …
Try placing your heels on a block (or against the wall) to raise the floor. Press down into your heels to engage the fronts of your thighs. Ground the insides of your heels as much as the outsides. Lift the inner legs. Keep your knees facing forward and release your inner legs straight back to the wall. Keep your top thighs engaged. Move the fronts of your legs to the backs of your legs; this action will open the hamstrings and unweight your shoulders.
See also Dolphin Pose
If you round your upper back or collapse in your shoulders …
Try placing a block below the shoulder blades at the thoracic spine area, using the wall to hold it there. (You will need someone to help you.) Keep your body in contact with the block, which works like a hand moving your upper back into the center of your body. Don’t push your back into the block—this will cause more rounding. Use a soft block in case it falls. If the block doesn’t feel secure and you need to be closer to the wall, cup your fingers around the bottom block to move closer to the wall.
Prop Up Your Practice
Getting into any pose does not guarantee you peace and happiness. In fact, you will still be the same you. The wise approach: Have a curious, beginner’s mind and investigate your limitations and potential as you practice—think of yourself as a child exploring, present in each moment, finding treasure in unexpected places. You’ll start to see props, and basic poses like Dolphin, as friends who help you on a journey to find your true and beautiful self. The props will help you learn the fundamental dynamics of a pose, expose your strengths and weaknesses, and keep you safe. As you practice, ask yourself: Does using props make me feel like less of a yogi? Do I feel discouraged? Am I proud? Is my attitude helpful? Yoga poses are simply tools for observing and understanding how we behave in the face of challenges and achievement and, ultimately, how to be happier and more engaged in our everyday lives.