Back Bends


Amanda GavlikHalf Cobra
Lie on your belly, fingertips under shoulders. Press your hands into the floor, lifting your torso a few inches off the ground. Lift the crown of your head toward the ceiling, and tuck your navel toward your spine to protect your lower back. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, then release.

Tip: Dont squeeze the glutes. Relaxing them allows the sacrum to open up, providing space for this bend in the back.

Note: The difference between upward facing dog and cobra is that here you are on the tops of your feet, and your thighs are not on the mat.

Kalli Rasbury (pictured in photos) is a yoga instructor in Birmingham, Alabama. Photographs by Amanda Gavlik.