Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel pose)
This has been one of my favorite poses as of late because it really stretches and strengthens my back. I've had a sore/stiff back recently, so stretching it out is absolutely necessary; I feel longer and looser after this pose. It also gives me a boost of energy, which I always appreciate.
Here is a great how-to guide from Yoga Journal. I would write out my own, but it's much better explained there. Also, if you can't handle a full wheel pose, then start in Bridge pose and once you feel comfortable there:
- Put your hands by your ears, fingers facing your shoulders.
- Exhale everything out. All the tension, worries, etc. Release.
- Inhale. As you inhale, press into the ground with your legs and palms. Push into the ground as hard as you can until your arms are straight, your back is completely lifted off the mat, crown of the head is facing the ground and your thighs are engaged. Breathe.
If you can't do the post perfectly, it's no big deal. My poses are rarely perfect. When all else fails, just breathe.