You know how there are two types of people in the world… the glass-is-half-full people, and the glass-is-half-empty people?
Well, in yoga there are two types of people too: those who call this position “happy baby pose”…
… and those who call it “dead bug pose.”
To satisfy both crowds, I’ll call my variation… Happy Dead Baby Bug Pose.
In this variation we rock side to side gently and then target the upper back for release. It goes like this:
1. Lie on your back, bend the knees, grab the edges of your feet and lift your shins to vertical, just like in the illustration. If you can’t reach your feet with your hands, grab your ankles, your shins, or use a belt around your feet and hold the belt. However you approach it, your shins should stay vertical and your head should stay comfortably on the floor.
2. Holding on loosely, begin rocking slowly, gently, side-to-side. Close your eyes and let the soothing rocking motion relax your back, your hips, your hamstrings, and your shoulders.
3. You could stay with the above two steps and go no further, or alternatively you could go on to the final variation on this pose: instead of keeping your knees bent, see if you can straighten them out a bit, letting the feet drift back over your shoulders as illustrated. This will shift where you are rocking from your mid-back to your upper back, therefore targeting the upper back for release. Stay with the S-L-O-W rocking motion for about a minute, of for however long this feels good to you.
Benefits: A fantastic, easy way to release upper-back and shoulder tension as well as open up your hip joints.
Avoid if: Your back hurts anytime during this sequence. If that’s the case, you might want to skip the rocking motion and find a gentler back release.
Final thoughts: This pose is a good predecessor for shavasana. Judging by the resonant breathing in the last minutes in some of my classes, it appears that “shavasana” is Sanskrit for “slumber party.”