Adho Mukha Svanasana
1. Prepare a padded surface, such as a yoga mat or a folded blanket or towel. Begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Place your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Spread your palms with you index fingers parallel to each other, and place your toes on the floor ready to lift up your body.
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2. Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor, beginning with the knees slightly bent and your heels lifted away from the floor. Reach back with your tailbone, lengthening your back.
3. With another exhalation push your thighs back and stretch your heels down towards the floor, touching the floor with them if you are able. Straighten the knees without locking them Keep your arms firm and press into the floor with the balls of your index fingers. Keep your head steady between your upper arms and do not let it hang.
4. Remain in this position for at least 30 seconds or longer. This pose is one of the poses in the tradition ‘Sun Salutation' sequence, but it can also be performed on it's own. Release on an exhale return to the original position.
This pose strengthens the muscles of the arms and legs, whilst stretching the calves, hamstrings, feet arches, hands, arms and shoulders. It can help relieve the symptoms of high blood pressure, asthma, foot pain, back-ache and sciatica, as well as relieving the symptoms of menopause. It is a calming pose that helps to relieve stress and fatigue, and can also improve digestion.