Benefits: This posture helps make the legs, particularly the knees, more flexible, stretches the quadriceps and iliopsoas muscles, while strengthening the arms.
Step by Step
1. Lie face down on the floor. Lift up the shoulders and bring the left arm across so that the elbow is underneath your left shoulder, and your hand underneath the right elbow. Bend your right knee and catch the top of the right foot with the right hand. Have your toes pointed straight forward, rather than out to the side.
2. On exhalation, press the foot forward and down, elbows pointing up to the sky, press the foot down with the palm of the hand, so that the inner heel scrapes the side of the buttock and hip, rather than the center of the buttock cheek. If possible bring the heel to the floor. This is Half Frog Pose. Stay for five to ten breaths.
3. To increase the stretch to the front thigh, press your right groin down to the floor and if possible lift the bent knee. Anchor down through the left elbow to deepen the curve in the upper back. Exhale, release the right foot and straighten the right leg, then repeat on the other side.
4. Now proceed to the full pose. Bend both knees and bring both heels close to the hips. Hold both feet with the hands. Press the feet down, while lifting the chest off the floor and rolling the shoulders back.
5. Minimize how far apart the knees are spread. Keep the elbows pulled in. Lift out of your waist to increase the backbend and create space in the abdomen and chest. Relax the shoulders and neck. Stay for five to ten slow breaths.
6. Counter pose: A forward bend of your choice.