Starting Position: Kneel with both knees directly under your hips and feet plantar flexed (toes pointing behind you) with the big toes touching. Begin to widen your knees towards the outside of the mat. Stiffen your abdominal muscles (“brace”) to stabilize your spine, and depress and retract your scapulae (pull shoulders down and back) without arching your low back. Slowly lean forward placing your hands on the ground, positioning them directly under your shoulders with your fingers facing froward. Inhale.
Keeping your hands planted, exhale and hinge at the hips, bringing your glutes to your heels. As you sit back, maintaining the connection between your glutes and heels, extend through your back and arms. Pull the shoulders down and back keeping them away from the ears. Allow your chest to rest between your thighs and your forehead to rest on the floor. Inhale as you lengthen the spine, extending through the upper body, and exhale as you fold deeper into the pose, widening the knees as needed.
Hold this position for 5-10 slow, deep breaths (approximately 30 seconds to a minute).
Exercise variation: Extend your arms alongside the body with the palms facing upward and the fronts of your shoulders toward the floor.