- Alleviates backache, sciatica, rheumatism, and general stiffness in the shoulders and neck, and improves posture through opening the chest
- Opens the hips and buttocks, alleviating leg cramps and toning the lower body
- Massages the digestive organs and stimulates the kidneys, which may help in cases of diabetes
- Enhances the immune system by massaging and purifying the lymph nodes of the groin and underarms
- Helpful for preventing and healing shoulder problems, including bursitis and rotator cuff injuries
- Induces a state of relaxation, and when practiced for a minimum of 10 minutes, this posture will relieve tiredness, tension, and anxiety
- Ayurveda: Increases earth, water, and fire and reduces Vata and Kapha
- Chakras: activates the root (1), sacral (2), and solar plexus (3), and heart (4) chakras
- Prana Vayus: strengthens Samana and Prana
- Langhana/Brahmana: emphasizes slight heating
- Begin in Table with the Right knee crossed in front of the Left, knees pressing firmly together and the feet spreading wide.
- Sit the hips back between the heels, resting both sits bones on the earth (or, if both sits bones do not touch, rest them on a folded blanket).
- Lengthen the spine, engaging the bandhas and drawing the lower ribcage up and back.
- Inhale to stretch the left arm up, and as you exhale, bend the left elbow, reaching the hand between the shoulder blades.
- Inhale to bring the right arm behind the back, reaching it up between the shoulder blades, with the back of the hand towards the body, to clasp the left fingers (if the fingers don’t touch, use a strap to create the bind).
- Draw the sternum toward the spine while lengthening the vertebrae, to prevent the ribcage from popping forward and arching the spine.
- Draw the elbows toward the midline of the body, while reaching them in opposite directions.
- Keep the ribcage directly above the pelvis and the space between the shoulder blades widening.
- Continue breathing deeply and steadily, grounding through the sits bones and lengthening through the crown of the head.
- After a few minutes, slowly and gently release the posture, and repeat to the other side.
- Those with knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, wrist, or low back pain may need to begin with modifications
- If the hands don’t touch, use a strap to create the bind behind the back, or simply grab opposite elbows behind the body for chest opening
- Place a folded blanket or bolster under the sits bones
- Practice this posture lying on your back, holding the feet (pictured below)
- Practice holding the feet and folding the torso forward