Amanda GavlikHalf Cobra
Lie on your belly, fingertips under shoulders. Press your hands into the floor, lifting your torso a few inches off the ground. Lift the crown of your head toward the ceiling, and tuck your navel toward your spine to protect your lower back. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, then release.
Amanda GavlikFull Cobra
Lie on your belly as in half cobra, but place your hands by the lower ribs. Lift your torso up using your back muscles, relying on your arms for support. Keep your elbows slightly bent, shoulders back, and abs tucked toward the spine. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, then release.
Tip: Dont squeeze the glutes. Relaxing them allows the sacrum to open up, providing space for this bend in the back.
Amanda GavlikUpward Facing Dog
Lie on your belly with your hands under your shoulders. Begin to straighten your arms, pressing up onto the tops of your feet so that your thighs and knees lift off the mat. Lift the crown of your head toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulders back, and press your navel toward your spine. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, and release.
Note: The difference between upward facing dog and cobra is that here you are on the tops of your feet, and your thighs are not on the mat.
Lie on your belly. Bending the knees, reach back with your hands and clasp your ankles. Pressing back with the feet, lift the chest, shoulders, and head as you extend, breathing into your belly. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, and release.
Kalli Rasbury (pictured in photos) is a yoga instructor in Birmingham, Alabama. Photographs by Amanda Gavlik.