Sunday, 20 November 2016

Yoga with a wall


Using a wall can help you open up in a yoga pose, give you support, or help with balance.
  
Try these poses using a wall

Tadasana (a wall helps you find good posture) - stand with your back to a wall, the feet together with the outside edges of the feet parallel. Lift your kneecaps to engage your thigh muscles.  Lengthen your tail bone down towards the floor to create space in the spine, lift your chest and roll your shoulder blades back and down.  Level your with the floor, the crown of your head reaching for the ceiling.  Relax your arms by your sides, your fingers gently curled.  For good alignment your head, shoulders and hips should be in contact with the wall For many of us, especially if we work with computers this may mean taking the head back.



Back Stretch (this is essentially Downward Facing Dog with a different relationship to gravity - ideal if semi-inversions are not for you and a lovely stretch for your back) - stand facing a wall with your feet at hip distance and your fingertips on the wall at navel height.  Keeping your feet at hip distance walk your feet back until you come to a flat back and your head is between your arms. Press your tailbone back.  To come out of the pose, breathe in and walk your feet forward to come upright.  As a counter pose, interlace your fingers behind your back, breathe in and lift your arms up and back as you lift your chest.



Wall Dolphin (this is essentially Dolphin with a different relationship to gravity - ideal if semi-inversions are not for you and a lovely stretch for your shoulders)- interlace your fingers and place your forearms on the wall with your elbows apart. Your elbows should be at shoulder height and feet hip distance. Breathe in and as you breathe out walk your feet back until your head is between your arms.  To come out breathe in and walk your feet forward. As a counter pose roll your shoulders up by your ears and back and down.  



Arm Clock - stand a little way from the wall with your right hip nearest the wall.  Take your right arm up the wall at the 12 o'clock position.  Keeping your hips forward and level, breathe in and as you breathe out take your arm to the 1 o'clock postion.  Repeat to the two o'clock position and three o'clock position.  To come out of the pose, breathe in and as you breathe out take your arm back to the 2 o'clock position and continue until you return to the 12o'clock position.  Lower your arm, turn your left hip to the wall and repeat taking your arm to the 11 o'clock, 10 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions.



Tree Pose (the wall helps you become confident in balances) - stand a little way from the wall with your left hip on the wall side. Take your weight into your left leg and place your left fingertips on the wall.  Slowly peel the right foot away.  Place the right foot against the left ankle, against your calf or reach down and place your right foot against your left inner thigh. Do not place your foot against your left knee.  Lift your left kneecap and press into your right foot with your left leg with the same force as you press the left leg with your right foot. Lengthen your tail bone down and lift up out of your hips.  Find a gaze point, a drishti and raise your right arm.  If you feel steady try raising your left arm. To come out breathe out and lower your right foot.  Repeat second side.  



Half Moon Balance (lightly resting your hips and shoulders on the wall creates a delicious opening in this pose) - start in standing with your back to the wall. Bring your hands to your hips and step your feet wide.  Inhale bring your arms to shoulder height, exhale bend your right knee. Bring your left hand onto your left hip and take your right hand to the mat or to a block (remember a block has 3 levels.  The block or your hand should be positioned 6-12 inches forward of your right little toe and slightly back.  Start to transfer your weight onto your right foot and slowly start to lift your left leg so that your hips and shoulders lightly rest on the wall.  Breathe in and raise your left arm.  Your gaze can be straight ahead or up at the left hand.  
To come out of the pose lower the left hand to the left hip and drop the back leg to the mat. Inhale come up, front knee bent, arms to shoulder height, exhale bring your hands to your heart, turn your feet to face forward.  Repeat second side. 


Standing Twist -  stand with your right hip to the wall and the fingertips of both hands on the wall.  Breathe in and as you breathe out 'walk' your fingertips back as you twist from the abdomen, then the ribcage, then the shoulders. With each breath out you may find you can twist a little more.  Keep your hips facing forward.



Arthur's Seat (a wall supports your back leg in this pose for a good quadricep stretch) - come into a lunge with your back to the wall so that your shin is resting on the wall.  You should already feel this on the quadricep but if you feel you want to go deeper bring your hands to your front thigh.  To come out of the pose release your hands back down to the mat and release the back leg from the wall.  Repeat second side.



Legs up the Wall (in this pose a wall supports you to help you relax) - sit with your right hip to the wall, knees bent. Swivel so that your legs are up the wall and your body resting back on your mat, arms by your sides.  



You can also use the wall in this position to come into a variation of Keyhole stretch which is great if you struggle to hold your leg without straining your neck.  Place your right foot on your left thigh, foot flexed - the nearer your foot is to your groin, the more intense the pose. Bend your left knee taking your left foot to the wall.



Another pose you can do here is a variation of Diamond Pose by bending your knees to bring your feet to the wall then letting your knees release towards the wall so that the soles of your feet come together and your legs form a diamond shape.



Namaste,



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