Inhale raising the arms up, exhale with KNEES BENT, fold forward placing the hands on shins, or a block or tops of your feet. Keep the belly close to the thighs and the full foot on the floor. The knees are bent to protect the spine. Inhale once again, exhale and slightly draw the crown of the head toward the ground further. Begin to gently straighten the legs and release. Complete the exhale releasing any tension held in the hamstrings and thighs. Rely on the hands and arms to stay engaged in order to further release. Remain here 3-5 or more breaths releasing the low back while keeping knees bent. Optional cue: energetically draw feet apart, freeing the sacrum.
Now, bend the knees even more and engage the core and pelvic floor to sweep the arms up and over head to standing. Place the palms together, interlaced fingers if desired and exhale the shoulders down. Inhale again, and extend the spine up as the head drops gently back to gaze up. Gently press the belly forward with the weight in the heels and engaged legs. Feel as if the front body is opening, almost arching up and over to the back corner of the room. Breathe 3-5 breaths. Gently bend the knees to come out and back to mountain pose (Figure 13).
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