1. Lying on your back, bend both knees and place the feet flat on the floor hip width apart. Press the feet into the floor, inhale and lift the hips up, rolling the spine off the floor. Engage the thighs, buttocks and mula bandha.
2. Place the palms underneath the shoulders with the fingers pointed towards the head and the elbows shoulder width apart.
3. Inhale and press into the palms and straighten the arms to lift the shoulders and head off the floor. Keep the legs and arms as straight as possible to lift the hips and chest up.
4. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.
5. To release: exhale and slowly bend the elbows to lower the head, neck and then shoulders to the floor. Bend the knees to slowly roll the spine and hips back to the floor.
Benefits + Contraindications
Benefits: Upward Bow pose strengthens the arms, shoulders, back and legs and deeply opens the chest and hips. Wheel pose energizes the body and stimulates the nervous, endocrine, respiratory and circulatory systems.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the legs, arms, hips, shoulders or back, unmedicated high blood pressure, or Glaucoma.
Modifications + Variations
Modifications: Use a yoga block under the hips to support your weight.
Variations: Interlace the hands together behind your back, walk the shoulders in and press down with the arms and shoulders.
This pose is also know as Chakrasana / Wheel pose. [/am4show]