Start lying on your back and bend the knees bringing heels in towards the hips to where the fingertips can barely graze the heels. The feet should be hip distance apart.
Ground the soles of the feet and place the palms down on either side of the head (shoulder width distance). The fingers should be pointing towards the shoulders with thumbs closest to the ears. Begin to lift the hips up by pressing firmly and evenly through arms and legs.
In the arched position, keep extending the hips, elongate the arms, and draw the ribs upwards. To keep the knees from splaying and straining the lower back, rotate the thighs inwards. Hold for as long as you can bear it, but remember to breathe! When coming out of the pose, remember to tuck the chin into the chest before bending the elbows and rolling down one vertebra at a time.
Pain or discomfort from back-bending is usually experienced in the lumbar region (lower back). To protect the lumbar spine, try to bend less from that region and more from the upper back. Engage the abdominals to alleviate weight from the lumbar muscles.