Translation: The Plough
Bring the knees into the chest rapidly, raising the pelvis and lower back up. Straighten the legs when the lower back begins to rise.
Take the legs slowly down behind the head and place the hands into the lower back for support.
If possible allow the legs to come all the way down to the mat.
The tops of the feet can be on the mat if you point them but for a deeper back and leg stretch push through the heels and allow the ballpoint of the feet to touch the mat.
Create space around the neck for the elements to flow.
There are 2 variations shown but many others exist. Notice the difference in the curve between the first pose shown and the one with the hands over the head to the right. Many of the back muscles are stretched by allowing the spine to curve.
Hamstring muscles, back muscles and neck muscles are stretched. If the hands are interlocked behind the back the shoulders will also be stretched. When the hands are stretched over the head little muscles in the spine are stretched.
The Trapezius muscles are well stretched during this exercise. See more about poses and back muscles . Practice yoga at home with a printable Home yoga flow showing this pose blended with other yoga poses.
Yoga Teacher Tips
Always warn the class about entering this pose carefully and slowly especially if they have a neck injury. Many people have neck injuries and this pose may be performed mildly with ease but if performed too deep or entered too fast this pose can aggravate many neck issues.
Vinyasa Yoga postures to transition from and to: