Start off in Adho Mukha Svanasana. Exhale as you lower into Chaturanga Dandasana and hold yourself here, engaging your core muscles while firming your shoulders and chest. Exhale again and lower all the way to the floor in a prone position. Press your iliac crests into the ground and engage your pelvic floor, while allowing your thighs to roll inward and your knees to bend. Move your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and bend your knees. If you try to force your knees to bend, you run the risk of injuring them and restricting your range of motion. Simply allow your knees to bend while aligning your heels with the outside edges of your hip joints. Lift your upper back off the ground as though you are entering Shalabhasana A, and reach back and hold on to the inside edges of your feet. Wrap the valleys of your thumbs and index fingers around the mounds of your big toes while pointing your toes up to the ceiling to prepare for the main pose .
Be sure that your feet and knees are slightly wider apart than your hips to ensure that your feet will be in the proper position for full Bhekasana. To enter the pose, lift your elbows and flip your fingers over the tops of your feet; simultaneously press into your iliac crests to lift your thighs off the ground and bend your knees to allow your feet to reach toward the ground alongside your hip joints . Gaze toward your nose to turn your mind inward. Change the direction of your hands and fingers to point forward as you roll through this movement and lift your chest off the ground. Gently push on the tops of your feet to bring your toes closer to the ground while elongating your quadriceps and lengthening your legs back and away from your pelvis.
Strongly point your toes forward and toward the floor just outside your hips. If your toes point toward your buttocks, you are not aligned properly because your feet need space so they can safely move toward the floor. Draw your shoulder blades toward your spine, bring your elbows slightly toward each other, and press down onto your feet to move deeper. Keep pressing your iliac crests into the ground to lift your thighs higher and give your knees more space. Reach your knees backward, away from your torso, while allowing your sacrum to nutate and your lower back to remain spacious. Keep your thighs rotated inward to safely facilitate the required bend in your knees.
If you feel a pinching inside your knee, back off immediately and instead try to feel an elongation through your thighs and quadriceps. Stay in this posture for five deep breaths, then inhale and lift your body directly into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. Exhale and roll back to Adho Mukha Svanasana to prepare for the next pose.
I had a hard time entering this posture when I first started integrating it into my practice. I could not accept that it was safe to bend my knees in this way, and it created a big mental obstacle to my practice of Bhekasana. I did not have any pain other than my mental reservations, but it is not uncommon for students to have both physical discomfort as well as logical objections to this asana. The entry into Bhekasana is often the most challenging, because many students fail to understand or execute the turning of the hands to guide their feet into position.
One technique that helps overcome mental and physical obstacles in this posture is to practice entering a modified version of Bhekasana that bends only one knee at a time . Follow the same technical and anatomical directions as for the full pose, adjusted to account for the movement’s localization on one side of the body. The leg that remains straight will be a stabilizer, so press the toes of that leg firmly into the ground to equalize your pelvis. Hold on both the right side and the left side for five breaths before attempting the full posture. Working on each side of the movement individually helps you isolate the particular movement pattern that is most efficient to take you into the complete version of Bhekasana. Eventually, when you are more comfortable in Bhekasana, you can move directly into the pose without any preparatory steps.