Updated: Feb 12
So here it is, my first foray (affected word for attempt!) at online teaching!
Now, before you watch the video - (yesI know the suspense is literally killing you LOL), let's be clear; this pose is a deep heart/chest opening backbend. On a subtle level it energises, expands and releases tension through the front body and opens up the lungs - it's not one to do before bed!
Ustrasana, as well as being a front body opener, calls for attention to the strength of the lower body This activation of the musculature provides a stable support from which to achieve an even arc through the upper spine and really open the heart from back to front.
Be sure to warm the body up first: start with cat/cow cycles and perhaps sukasana side bends and Parighasana (gate) to open up the waist area and sides of the torso. Move into sun salutations A and B before working progressively through prone backbends: sphinx, Bhujangasana (Cobra) and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Up Dog), shalabhasana (locust) and Dhanurasana (bow). Insert some twisting asana: Parivritta allanasana (high lunge twist) or Parivritta Utkatasana (fierce pose with twist). Setu Bandha (Bridge) should be in there and Virasana which I show at the beginning of the video - note that if bringing the sit bones to the floor is an issue you can use a block under the sit bones to avoid straining the knees.
To neutralise take a seated twist followed by child's pose, move into dandasana and then a seated forward fold such as paschimottansana or baddha konasana.
Any questions or comments I think you can post below.
There are some important contraindications: high/low blood pressure, migraine, low back or neck injury. The guidance given in this video is designed to support a class practice and does not in any way constitute medical advice. If in doubt you should consult a qualified physician as to the suitablity of this pose for you.