This warm up technique is helpful to gently wake up the muscles, connective tissue, and bones of and around the spine.  This pose takes you through two of the essential movements of the spine: flexion and extension (rounding, arching), as well as helping to connect breath and movement, encourage lubrication and mobility in the spine, prepare the body for stronger spinal work, and of course create suppleness in the whole body.

Take hands and knees position with the heels of your hands under your shoulders, and knees under your hips.  Bear your weight evenly in the hands, and encourage your fingers to contribute to the support.  Take some time to breathe and think about what neutral position would be, perhaps imagining a straight line from your tailbone to your upper back to the back of the head. 

On an exhale draw your belly to spine, curl your tailbone under to round through the lower back, and allow that curve to continue to deepen and flow through the spine, rounding your mid back and upper back, until your head naturally tucks under so you can see into your belly.  The back is round like a hissing cat.

On an inhale, start to tilt your tailbone to the ceiling as though you were shining your sit bones to the sky.  Allow your belly to sink to the ground as you allow the arch to flow through your lower back, mid back, upper back, until your head tilts up to look upwards.  Press your heart forward and keep strong in your fingertips.

Repeat a few times, undulating through the spine as though a wave is moving from your tail to your crown.  Come back to neutral for a few breaths, then rest in Child, or move to Downward Dog to proceed into practice.

Note: if you experience pain or tension in your wrists, be sure to keep your fingers strong and supportive – and perhaps double up your mat under the heels of the hands to reduce the angle of the wrists and provide some support.

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