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DOLPHIN POSE

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• Begin on your hands and knees. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips. The fold of your wrists should be parallel to the top edge of your mat, and your middle fingers should point directly forward.

• Lower your elbows to the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your forearms parallel to each other and to the side edges of your mat. Distribute your weight evenly across both forearms.

• Tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Reach your pelvis up toward the ceiling, then draw your sit bones toward the wall behind you. Keep your knees bent as you lengthen your spine and broaden across your shoulder blades.

• Then, gently begin to straighten your legs. Bring your torso and legs into the shape of an "A." Do not walk your feet closer to your hands — keep the extension of your whole body. If your upper back begins to round, bend your knees again until your spine is straight.

• Draw your shoulder blades into your upper back ribs and toward your tailbone. Widen across your collarbones.

• Align your ears with your upper arms. Relax your head, but do not let it dangle. Gaze between your legs or toward your navel.

• Hold for 5-25 breaths.

• To release, exhale as you gently bend your knees and come back to the floor. Press back into Child's Pose (Balasana) to rest.

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Benefits:

Dolphin Pose strengthens and stretches the shoulders, arms, upper back, and legs.

It helps bring flexibility to the spine, hamstrings, calves, and arches. In addition, it provides all of the benefits of Downward-Facing Dog, including:

Relief from headaches, insomnia, fatigue, and mild depression

Improved memory and concentration

Relief from stress and anxiety

Improved digestion

Relief from back pain

Prevention of osteoporosis

Relief from sinusitis, asthma, flat feet, and menstrual discomfort

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