Sit up, keeping the legs together and straightout, with the toes back towards the body. Pull the flesh of your buttocks out from underneath you, so that you are sitting directly on the pelvic bone. Inhale and stretch both arms up over the head, parallel to the ears. Stretch the spine upwards as much as possible.
Retaining the stretch and pulling the abdomen in, exhale and fold forward from the pelvis, leading with the chest and keeping your back straight.
Bend forward until your hands reach either your shins, ankles or feet, and stretch your head and spine forwards as much as possible. Allow your elbows to hang loose to release tension in your neck and shoulders; aim to keep your upper back, neck and head all in one line; and breathe slowly and deeply. Keep the back and legs as straight as possible. If you are unable to reach the toes, hold the ankles, the shins or even the knees. In the position, breathe deeply, feeling yourself advancing forward a little more every time you exhale. Mentally check your body to see where it is tight; imagine breathing into that area and using the breath to relax. Visualize the top of the head coming down towards the feet.
Bring the abdomen as close to the thighs as possible. Keep the knees straight with the feet together. Do not permit the feet and legs to rotate outward. Try to keep the feet flat with the toes back towards the head.
Beginners may hold the position for 10 – 30 seconds, breathing deeply. With each exhalation, try to come forward a little more. Repeat 2–3 times.
Intermediate/Advanced students may stay in the position for longer periods rather than coming up and down. Gradually increase the time the position is held, the optimum being approximately 5 minutes. Breathe deeply while the position is being held. Try to keep the thigh andcalf muscles relaxed. Do not bounce; do not try to force the body downwards. Advanced students may try to rest the abdomen on the thighs, the chest on the knees and the head between the shins.