Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Setup and Key Actions
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor and parallel, heels directly underneath your knees. Bend your arms at your sides so that your upper arms remain on the floor, but your forearms are off the floor, pointing up toward the ceiling as if you were holding ski poles. Begin with a neutral pelvis (maintain a small space between your lower back and the floor), and keep your middle back on the floor so your lower ribs aren't jutting forward. Lengthen through the sides of your body (even so much that your shoulders come up toward your ears initially), press your upper arms into the floor to draw your shoulder blades into your back, and broaden across your chest and shoulders. Be sure to maintain a space between the back of your neck and the floor as you press your feet, upper arms, and (gently) the very center of the back of your head into the floor as you lift your hips up into the pose.
Keep your gaze toward the ceiling at all times. Interlace your hands underneath you, if you like, to help draw your shoulder blades in toward each other, but avoid pulling your shoulders down and flattening your neck. Broaden your collarbones and lift your chest. If this causes your neck to flatten, move your chin away from your chest slightly to preserve the cervical curve. Extend from your pelvis out through the tops of your thighs.
If your knees tend to splay open, before you lift up into the pose place a yoga block between your thighs. For a more restorative variation, place a block or bolster underneath your sacrum/pelvis (not your lower back).