Etymology and origins
The body comes into a V-shape, balancing entirely on the buttocks. In different variations and traditions, the arms, legs and torso may take different positions. In Paripurna Navasana, the legs and back are lifted high and arms extend forward and parallel to the ground. In Ardha Navasana, hands interlace behind the neck and both back and shoulders are closer to the ground.
To come into the pose, begin seated on the floor. Bend your knees, bringing the soles of the feet to the ground, and bring the palms to the back of the thighs. Begin to lean back as you shift your weight from your feet, eventually lifting the soles of the feet off the ground. Balance on the sitting bones, not leaning right back on to the tailbone. Lengthen the spine to broaden and lift the chest.
The more difficult Ubhaya Padangusthasana has both hands grasping the toes or feet.
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