Bye-Bye Back Pain
This expanded table pose provides a good stretch for your neck and upper back. It strengthens and tones your arms without the strain of doing a traditional push-up, and tightens the facial muscles up as an added bonus.
As the name suggests, eight parts (points) of your body will be making contact with the floor (or ground if you practice outdoors): your chin, chest, both hands, both knees an both feet. The science behind this asana gives your body a gentle, but effective upper back bend that is helpful for those who are not very limber or are new to Yoga.
1. Begin in Table Pose. Be certain your hands are directly below your shoulders
2. Gently arch your back as you bend your elbows.
3. Exhale as you lower your chest to the floor between your hands. You may need to adjust the position of your knees to allow your chest to lay on the floor.
4. Stretch the front of your neck and place your chin on the floor. Your face should be looking forward.
5. Move your shoulder blades down and back. Your elbows should be close to your sides.
6. Curl your toes under and place the balls of your feet on the floor, with your toes pointing forward.
7. Press your tailbone up, toward the ceiling to lengthen your spine.
8. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds.
Notes: It is important that your abdomen does not touch the floor in this pose as it can put strain on your back and defeat the benefits of the stretch.
After performing this pose, you should perform a counter pose, such as Crocodile, to lessen the strain on your back and relax your spine.
How To Modify Eight Point Pose For Beginner Level
If you feel pressure on your knees you can place a folded blanket or towel under your knees.
If your forearms cannot hold your weight, you can rest them on the floor.
To relieve strain in your neck place your forehead on the floor instead of your chin. Although this modification helps reduce stress felt in the neck area, some beginners may find it harder than placing their chin on the floor.
How To Modify Eight Point Pose For Intermediate/Advanced Level
To increase the upper body benefits, you can move back and forth between the Table Pose and the Eight Point Pose 3 -4 times. Make sure you exhale as you move into Eight Point as inhale as you move back into Table.