The heat of the summer is an excellent time to play with more advanced postures. Heat is a really great way to open up tight muscles and closed joints. Add to a hot summer day a nice moving practice with lots of hip openers, backbends, twists, and sun salutations and you have the recipe to a strong foundation for more advanced backbends.
After a good warm-up, lay supine with both knees bent. Place both hands alongside your ears with your fingers pointing in toward your shoulders and your palms down. Inhale and increase strength by drawing your legs and arms into the midline. Exhale and create more support for your bridge by pressing your shoulders into the floor. Inhale to lift your hips away from the floor, exhale to press into your hands and lift up to the crown of your head. Pause, inhale, and re-gather strength, drawing into the midline of your body with your arms and legs again, exhale to re-center your energy into your heart.
Inhale to place your forearms on the floor with your palms interlaced behind your head. On your next exhale, press out from your heart into your forearms and lift your head looking back at your hands. Hold for a few rounds of breath, drawing your shoulders ever more deeply into your heart, and sweetly unfold into your inner spaciousness. Exhale to lower your head, heart, and hips to the mat, letting the reward of your work seep in.
Like the unlimited blossoms of flowers and the bounty of fruit hanging on trees the peak of the summer is an invitation to full bloom. Follow the invitation and explore the boundaries of your body in this beautiful form.