1. Lie on your belly.
2. Come onto your forearms, with your elbows directly under your shoulders and parallel to each other.
3. Stretch your legs straight back, about hip-width apart.
4. Spread your toes wide and press the tops of your feet into your mat.
5. Firm your legs, and roll your inner thighs up, your outer thighs down. Press your tailbone toward your feet, lengthening your lower back.
6. Press down into your forearms to lift your chest up.
Refine: Continue to push down firmly into your forearms while also pulling back against the resistance of the sticky mat. Though they won’t move, work your forearms as if you were dragging them backward. Reach your chest forward. As you do this, keep reaching your tailbone back, creating traction between the weight of your hips pulling back and the strength of your arms. Let this elongate the sides of your waist as you reach your chest farther forward.
To protect your lower back, lift your navel, engaging your abdominals, almost as if you were rounding your lower back. It won’t actually round, but your lower spine will move into a more neutral position. Focus on these two actions at once: Open the upper back into a backbend as you engage your belly to support the lower back. This will help you find greater opening in the upper back.
Finish: Take several breaths here, noticing everything you are feeling. When you’re ready, release all the way down to the floor. Relax and breathe into your back.