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1. From Mountain pose, place the palms on the low back/sacrum with the fingers pointed down. Press into the feet, pull up the knee caps, and squeeze the thighs and buttocks.
2. Press the hips forward and begin to arch the torso backwards. Keep the head looking forward, or if it feels safe let it drop all the way back. Use the arms to support your weight and keep the legs and buttocks engaged and strong.
3. Breathe and hold 3-7 breaths.
4. To release: keep the legs, buttocks and arms strong as you slowly inhale back up, letting the head and neck be the last to come vertical.
Benefits: Standing Backbend opens the front of the body, and strengthens the respiratory, cardiovascular and endocrine systems.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the hips, back or neck.
Variations: A) Walk the hands down the backs of the thighs to the backs of the knees. B) Inhale the arms over the head with the fingers interlaces and the index fingers pointing up. C) Place the palms together in front of the heart in Anjali Mudra.
Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Mountain.