It is back bend, or spine stretch, using the strength of the upper and middle back to lift the weight of the legs as high as possible from a starting position face down on the floor. It improves flexibility and coordination and increases strength and stamina.
Beginners may find that their shoulder and elbow flexibility is not sufficient to allow them to get the hands palm down right underneath the body.
Variations of this asana are:
In the Bikram style of yoga, the asana referred to as Salabhasana has three stages which follow one after the other. The asana of the same name in the Astanga style of yoga corresponds to stage three of the Bikram style asana.
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