sassyyogi:

Wheel pose (upward bow): Urdhva Dhanurasana

1. Start off by bending your knees, placing your feet near your bum such that your fingertips are slightly touching your heels.

2. Lift your hips as high as possible, engaging your core muscles and your leg muscles by squeezing your bum together, as if there is a dollar note wedged in between your butt cheeks and you cannot let it fall out. You can choose to stay in this pose, breathing deeply for 5 to 10 breaths, crossing your fingers underneath your bum, and tucking your shoulder blades on your back. This is a great back opener. 

3. When you feel ready, place your hands beside your ears, and continue to engage your core muscles and leg muscles. Remember that they are the ones that will help to lift you up when you push yourself away from the ground.

4. Once you’re ready, push your hands against the floor and lift yourself up. To adjust your posture, try to walk your hands and feet as close to each other as possible. Also, be aware of your knees, make sure that they are not flaring out to the sides, try to keep them as close to the entire line as possible. Continue to breathe here, even though it may be a little difficult. Stay here for about 5 to 10 breaths, depending on how you feel. 

Slowly lower yourself to the ground, putting the crown of your head on the ground before lowering your hips and lower body. Once you’re flat on the ground, bring both your knees to your chest, rocking from side to side. That’s a gentle and effective counter-stretch after an intense backbend like this. 

Remember (CAUTION):

1. Do not force the pose, listen to your body. If you do not feel ready yet, you can always stay in #2. 

2. Try not to rely too much on your arms to lift yourself up. You will realise that it is more lower body strength and core strength rather than arm strength to complete this pose. 

3. Always remember to breathe. If a certain pose gets too intense for you, back off. You wouldn’t want to injure yourself!!

**If you have a bad back, I would recommend you to stay in #2 first!**

Benefits:

1. Strengthens your arms, wrists, shoulders, chest.

2. Opens up the chest and strengthens your lungs

3. Works the abs and oblique area

4. Increases hip flexibility

5. It’s a great heart opening back bend!

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