As easily as backbends come for me, it has always been difficult for me to do bow. Up until the connection have great form, but once my hands meet my feet, it becomes something entirely different. I have a super tight chest and my shoulder mobility is still stiff at times to the point where my shoulder will spasm in pain at times for something that typically brings me no pain. For this reason I have learned to be realer gentle with shoulder mobility, but with a bow it is pretty hard to accomplish the gentle shoulder movements. Due to hyper mobile back with a death wish, I tend to stay away from too many back bends in fear of destroying my spine, however when I do partake, bow is not one of my typical back bending go-to poses due to the added shoulder pains. This pose takes a lot of back and core streangth and should be taken slowly.
Lie on your belly with your hands by your side, palms up. Exhale and bend your knees, bringing your heels into the air. Reach back with your hands and take hold of your ankles. Make sure your knees aren’t wider than the width of your hips, and keep your knees hip width for the duration of the pose. Lift your heels away from your buttocks and, at the same time, lift your thighs away from the floor. This will have the effect of pulling your upper torso and head off the floor. Pull the tailbone down toward the floor, and keep your back muscles soft. As you continue lifting the heels and thighs higher, press your shoulder blades firmly against your back to open your heart. Draw the shoulders down, and away from your ears. Gaze forward. Breathe into the back of your torso, and be sure not to stop breathing. If you would like to work on opening your shoulders more, flip your hands around grabbing the big toe with two fingers, and bring your elbows facing forward. Then extend your arms and legs higher into the air. You can also increase the challenge by performing the pose with your thighs, calves, and inner feet touching. To come out of this pose release as you exhale, and lie quietly for a few breaths.
Stretches the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen, chest, throat, and deep hip flexors