How-to: Lie flat on your back. Bend your knees straight up, bringing heels just behind your hips. Bring hands on either side of your head, fingers pointing back toward your body. Press into your feet and hands, and lift your hips straight up.
Tips: Bridge pose is a good warm-up for this position. Avoid pressing up as far as you muscles can take you right away. Instead, lift slowly, breathe deeply, rock forward and back as well as side to side. Relax into back bends with your breath, and your muscles will release much more easily.
Benefits: Opens the chest and spine. Opens hips and tops of thighs.
Michael Taylor is a yoga guide at Strala Yoga in New York City. (Michael prefers "guide" to "instructor"). He's practiced Eastern movement and healing techniques for more than two decades. He holds a degree in mind-body medicine from Harvard, and studied alternative medicine and psychology at Oxford. Mike is also the CEO of social media company Odyl, climbs a few mountains in his spare time, and is the husband of yoga master Tara Stiles.
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