This pose creates awareness and improves endurance in lumbopelvic (low back and pelvis) and scapulohumeral (shoulder and shoulder blade) stabilizers. It is also a wonderful tool to use to learn to relax the upper trapezius muscles before attempting downward dog.
Use TATD breath which facilitates recruitment of the deep core stabilizers– Transversus abdominis (TA), pelvic diaphragm, respiratory diaphragm, multifidi. Perform the TATD breath as follows.
- Exhale and draw the belly button (TA) into the spine lightly but firmly enough to create a slight internal tension.
- Maintaining the contraction of the TA, Inhale through your nose and feel the ribcage moving like bucket handles, out to the sides as the diaphragm descends.
Start Position – Align the hands under the shoulders with your scapula approximated in a “V” shape down your back, and thearms spiraled outward so your elbow creases face forward and your elbows face backwards. Your elbows should be straight, but not hyperextended. Stretch the fingers as wide as possible. Bring the knees under the hips athip width and tuck your toes so your ankles are bent to 90 degrees.
Entry – On an exhale, engage the TA (gently pull belly button to spine) and maintain TATD breath. Inhale, and on the next exhale, keeping your elbows close to your body, lift the knees 1-2 inches off the floor and hold for three to five breaths. Maintain scapular position, and transverses abdominus (TA) and pelvic floor contraction. Keep your spine and head in neutral alignment.
Exit – Lower to mat after three to five breaths.
- For wrist restriction or pain, place blocks under hands and let either fingers, or thumbs cascade over the edges, whatever is most comfortable.
- Place a block between your upper thighs to assist in engaging pelvic floor and transverses abdominus.