1. Prepare a padded surface, such as a yoga mat or a folded blanket or towel. Lie on the blankets with your shoulders supported and your head on the floor. Place your arms by your sides on the floor, then bend your knees and place your feet on the floor with your heels close to your backside. Exhale, and push your feet away from the floor, bringing your thighs into your torso and supporting yourself with your arms.
2. Bring your knees towards your face, lifting your back further away from the floor. Stretch your arms out further with your fingers outstretched, then bend your elbows and draw them towards each other. Spread your palms on the back of your torso with the back of your upper arms on the mat. Raise your pelvis higher so your torso is perpendicular to the floor. ‘Walk’ your hands further up your back to get higher.
3. Inhale and then straighten your legs, lifting your knees up towards the ceiling to bring your legs into line with your upper body. Press your heels up towards the ceiling, then extend the balls of your toes.
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4. Beginners should try to hold this pose for at least 30 seconds. Gradually build up your strength and ability by adding duration to this pose, until you are able to hold it comfortably for at least 3 minutes. Incorporate this, or another inversion pose into a daily routine to feel the benefits.
This pose stretches and strengthens the shoulders, neck and core and tones the legs and buttocks. It also has a calming effect that can help relieve stress and mild depression, while improving digestion and relieving the symptoms of menopause.