This posture strengthens the legs immensely so that the back is protected in deeper backbends.
HOW TO PERFORM
• Begin in a kneeling position with your knees hip distance apart.
• Press your pelvis forward and reach your hands back and down to grab around your ankles with your palms facing inwards.
• Engage your leg muscles and slowly lean backwards to lower your hairline down to the ground, keeping the legs working at all times and the arms straight so not to put weight onto the head.
• Lift through the chest and keep the low abdomen drawn in firmly. Gaze to the tip of the nose.
• After 5-10 breaths push powerfully into the tops of your feet and use your leg and core muscles to rise up, keeping the arms straight and pressing the pelvis forward and bringing the head up last and hands to the waist.
• Coming out of this pose properly is an important part of the posture. Afterwards, you can take a Vinyasa to neutralise the body or rest directly into Child’s pose for relaxation.
If you cannot lower all the way down yet, or if you can go down but can’t get back up, try only lowering half way down, holding there for 5 breaths and coming back up. Gradually increase the amount that you lean back, little by little over time, until you can go all the way down and come back up again. You could also try using a block under the head to decrease the distance that you have to lean back and come up from.
Do not perform this posture if you have had injuries in the ligaments in your knees or if you have any neck injuries.