Upward Facing Bow + Variation

Upward Facing Bow or Wheel Pose is such a great asana to practice when you feel like you need a nice “stretch + strengthen”  through the spine.  This pose is a more advanced asana of the spine strengtheners, but if you don’t have any bodily limitations preventing you from regularly practicing this one, it is a great pose to include into your weekly routine.  It was always confusing to me why some would say that this pose is a great stretch for the spine.  I always viewed it as a strengthener, but I now, after teaching Yin Yoga for awhile, I believe that this pose allows for an amazing stretch and strengthening exercise for the little muscles around the spine.  Those spinal muscles naturally stretch as your spine curves and they strengthen at the same time through the natural compression that is placed on them while holding the spine in this curved position.  There are so many different variations of this asana, but lately I have been trying it with crossed legs, which is definitely more challenging, but fun.  I am working on trying to get my ankle to wrap around my opposing calf while in this pose, but I can only get my legs crossed right now.  I will keep trying though.  Anyway, try out this pose if you are physically capable.  It is a great one!