Iyengar's difficulty rating: 8* out of 60*
- Stand in Tadasana. Engage your quadriceps to tighten your kneecaps.
- On an exhale, fold forward at your hips. Place your fingers on the floor. With your legs still straight, move your hands back until your palms approach the floor behind your heels.
- Lift your head and stretch your spine into extension - a concave, backbend-like position. Shift your hips and weight forward so that your hips are directly above your ankles.
- Remain in this shape for two deep breaths.
- On an exhale, fold forward and rest your head on your knees or shins.
- Take just a few breaths before exiting the way you entered.
- Iyengar's leg bones are not vertical - his hips are somewhat behind his heels. This is not necessarily a problem, but for me, it increases strain and likelihood of hyperextension if overdone. By shifting my hips forward and allowing more weight to rest in the front of my feet, I distribute the stretch more evenly between my hamstrings and calves.