Our expert says:
Hi wildboy - I have always been taught to try and keep a neutral spine such that the musculature supporting the spine is trained to strengthen in a spine-neutral position ie you train the muscles to match their intended use. Having said that, an acceptable modification would be to flatten the lower back to protect it from injury, particularly if is susceptible to injury or is weak. Flattening (or supporting with the hands) ensures that you cannot hyper extend the lumbar spine. In yoga we are further taught that the overriding factor is to practice with awareness, moving with comfort and ease - towards the way your body was designed and born to be. This self awareness should prevent incurring injuries and moving into pain, thus doing what is appropriate for your own individual body structure. In other words there may not be a "right" answer, just different ways of doing it...
Hope this helps.
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