I had a clear goal in mind. Feet and hands should get closer to each other. Last time four boards were between hands and feet. I got closer. To have only 3 boards between hands and feet was the goal. I’m not yet there, but I’m closer. This astonished me when I checked my pictures. I thought it would take longer to minimize the distance between hands and feet.
I did stretching exercises for the hips (lunges).
I did additional stretching exercises for the upper body and the shoulders (hangman i.e.) This allowed me to get deeper into this back bending asana.
I usually hold this pose for one minute. I start a timer. It’s still a challenge and I’m always close to give up. But I hold it. This stretches the body. The body gets familiar with the asana.
Most important is to practice safely. I always try to get safe into this pose:
I start from lying on my back. I bring the feet as close to the body as possible. Feet shall be parallel to each other. It feels as if they are turned inwardly. The pictures proofs that the feet are rather parallel.
I put the hands under my shoulders.
The next step is important. I press the back on the floor. This causes a movement of the hips, that prepares for the back bending. I engage the bandhas to protect at least the SI joints.
Then I lift the body up, till the crown of my head is on the floor.
With the next inhaling I get into the pose. I try to keep the elbows parallel. I also try to get into the pose without moving to the feet and then swinging back. It’s recommended to get straight into this pose.
Finally I adjust. In order to have an even bridge I push the body to the hands with my feet.
I breathe deeply. After a while I walk the hands closer till I reach my limit.
Those who experienced injuries especially back injuries know that it’s important to practice correctly. Strong legs are important, strong arms, too. A strong core is useful, too. Yet it’s recommended to create length in order to bend. This allows to relax the lower back.
This picture is taken after many many back bends. I was prepared for this asana. It’s summer here, it got warmer. Warm weather is such a support for the practice.