Strengthens the knees, quads, hamstrings, hips, glutes and back.
Stretches the hip flexors, abs, obliques, chest. intercostals, shoulders and the back of the neck.
Increases spinal mobility.
Improves breathing efficiency.
Can help to alleviate knee, lower and upper back pain.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat, hip-width apart. Check that your toes point straight ahead.
Rest your arms by your sides, palms facing down and walk your feet back until your fingertips graze your heels.
Press your feet into the mat and lift your hips up.
Check that your knees point straight ahead and do not fall out to the sides or in towards each other. Your thighs should be parallel to each other, feet pointing straight ahead.
It’s likely that your mid-back is going to be the least flexible part of your spine, so if you lift up from your chest, you should get a smoother and more even arch.
If you can, roll your shoulders underneath you, interlace your fingers and straighten your arms. Press your little fingers into the mat. Come up to your edge.
Hold the pose for 5-10 deep breaths, in and out through your nose.
Take a deep breath in. Exhale, lower slowly down to the mat.
Bring one hand to your belly and one hand to your chest. Walk your feet to the edges of the mat and drop both knees slowly to the right, and to the left. Windscreen wiping your knees a few times to release your lower back.
VARIATION: Supported Bridge
Place a block under your sacrum and stay in the pose for 2-5 minutes. This is my go-to pose for passively stretching the hip flexors. It also relieves pressure at the lower back. It’s my #1 pose for mountain bikers.
Avoid this pose if you have a neck or shoulder injury.