This 30-second sequence is great for relieving stress, headaches, and insomnia, and it also alleviates lower back pain and fatigue while strengthening the upper body and abdominal muscles.
It's also a great routine for joint health. The articulation from downward dog to upward dog loosens synovial fluids and increases circulation in the cartilage and joints, keeping them lubricated. This helps the joints to stay pain free by reducing bone-on-bone-rubbing.
Modifications for beginners/injury: Bend knees for tight hamstrings, turn hands out to eliminate wrist pain.
Props: Rolled mat under heels or hands or blanket.
Start in downward dog and follow these instructions:
- Spread fingers wide, pressing knuckles into the mat and push the floor away from you (taking the weight from the wrist by drawing the navel in toward the spine)
- Puppy tilting pelvis, exhale pushing hips up and back
- Spread shoulder blades wide on back, externally rotating arms
- Anchor hands into the ground, elbow facing back (brushing close to the body)
- Pin the navel to the back of the spine, pressing heels to the floor, pushing the chest back toward thighs and forward
- Each vertebra is separating from the next and curling over, starting with the cervical or neck vertebra and moving sequentially toward the lumbar spine (low back). Continue to move from upward dog to downward dog always driving the motion from the breastbone and not allowing the pelvis to tilt or buckle; continue this motion consistently as it becomes more fluid; with time this action will become more natural