One of my all time favorite postures, I don't think you can miss practising this if you come to my classes. This posture really makes us connect with the spine, the more we practise it the more aware we will be if there is any tension or blockage in the spinal column and we can subsequently release this with our breath.
Here is a short tutorial video of the pose (2 minutes)
Detailed description of how to go into the pose:
1. Come to all fours, form a table such that your back forms the table top and your hands and feet form the legs of the table.
2. Wrists are directly underneath the shoulders, middle fingers are parallel with the long edge of the mat. The wrists are activated by pressing the index finger and thumb into the ground gently.
3. Knees are directly underneath the hips, legs are hip distance apart, toes are curled under. Look back between your legs, your feet should be hidden behind the thighs, that indicates that the legs are parallel.
4. With an inhalation starting at the tailbone, drop the belly towards the floor opening the spine into the 'U' shape. Bring your shoulders away from the ears, raise your chin and bring the head up gazing softly ahead.
5. On the exhalation, tuck the tailbone under, start creating the 'C' shape with the spine, arching your back up as much as you can, navel gently comes in towards the spine, buttocks are relaxed, the head drops last, finally pushing the ground away softly with the wrists.
If your knees or wrists hurt put a blanket underneath them for padding. Most important in this posture is to have fun, connect to the spine, say hello, and send it some loving care.
Benefits of the pose:
Brings flexibility to the spine
Strengthens wrists and shoulders
Massages the digestive organs and improves digestion
Tones the abdomen
Relaxes the mind
Improves blood circulation
With back and neck related problems contact your doctor and your yoga teacher about how to do this pose or if to avoid it altogether.
Flow with it!