Friday, 12 August 2016

Protecting your hamstrings and lower back in seated forward bends- Part two

Last week we talked about how to safely stretch our hamstrings to prepare for and practice seated forward bends. Please see 'Protecting your hamstrings and lower back in seated forward bends'-

We also mentioned that as well as stretching our hamstrings we need to strengthen the hamstrings to avoid injury in seated forward bends.

Below are some poses and sequences that will help strengthen your hamstrings, helping you prepare for seated forward bends:

Shoulder Bridge - lie on your back with your knees bent, arms by your sides.  Inhale lift your hips and draw your shins back.  Hold for a few breaths then breathe out to release your hips down.  Hug your knees in and rock from side to side.

Tiger sequence - start on all fours, inhale take the right leg back, exhale bend your right knee, flex your foot. Inhale reach round with your left arm to hold your right foot. On your next inhale press your right foot up and back. To release breathe out bring your left hand back to the mat, your right knee into your chest then down on the mat. Repeat second side.

Bow Pose - come down onto your tummy.  Bend both knees and take hold of your ankles or shins or use a belt if you cannot reach.  Breathe in, press your feet into your hands and lift. Hold for a breath or two then lower.  Take a Child's Pose to uncurl your spine.  Come to standing.

Warrior 2 - To practice the pose, stand in the middle of your mat with your hands on your hips and take your feet as wide as is comfortable.  Turn your right leg to the right and the toes of the left foot in 45 degrees, lining up the heel of the front foot with the instep of the back foot (men) or heel with heel (women).   Inhale, stretch your arms out at shoulder height, lift your chest, exhale bend your right knee, turn to look down the fingers of your right hand.  To come out of the pose, inhale straighten the right knee, exhale hands to heart, turn your feet to face forward.  Repeat second side.

Dancer - to practice stand with the feet slightly apart and find a gaze point, a drishti.  Take your weight into your right foot and raise your right arm. Bend your left knee and take hold of the outside of your left foot or your left ankle.  Use a belt looped around your foot if you cannot reach.  For a different stretch on your shoulder hold the inside of your foot or ankle. This may be your pose or if you can press your raised foot up and back as you hinge forward from the groin. Inhale to come back to an upright position, exhale as you take your foot back down to the mat and release your arm down. To modify practice with a wall, bringing your raised hand to the wall as you hinge forward.  Come down and rest in Child's pose watching your breath for a few minutes.

Janet x

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