Sunday, 18 June 2017

Building a home practice - yoga warm ups, so worth it

Yoga warm ups gently stretch the muscles and lubricate the joints in preparation for the more challenging poses at the 'core' of the practice.  More than this however, yoga warm ups bring us into the moment, allowing us to leave behind our busy day and be present.  The following sequence is a warm up for deeper back bends.  

Start in savasana, gently close your eyes and take a moment to check out your physical body and allow your breath to settle.  When you are ready gently open your eyes and take a.... 

Full body stretch - take a breath in, raise the arms overhead and press through both heels, moving the prana (life force) around your body then when you are ready to breathe out soften your legs and bring your arms back down by your sides.  Repeat twice more.

Gentle twist (starting to mobilise the spine in all directions)- bend your knees, bringing your heels towards your hips and take your arms out to 45 degrees.  Breathe in and as you breathe out let your knees fall to the right, just as far as they want to go.  Breathe in and centre, breathe out repeat to the left.  After a few repetitions add a warm up for your neck by turning your head in the opposite direction to the knees.  

Pelvic tilts (warms up the spine) - bend your knees and rest your hands on your hip points. Breathe in and curl your pubic bone towards you, flattening your back into the mat, breathe out roll your pubic bone down towards the mat creating a space under your back.  

Pelvic Tilts with Shoulder Bridge (adding a gentle back bend and warming up the shoulders) -  breathe in and curl your pubic bone towards you, flattening your back into the mat, breathe out roll your pubic bone down towards the mat creating a space under your back.   Breathe in lift your hips, take your arms overhead, breathe out lower your hips, bring your arms back over and repeat the sequence three more times.  

Warm up for core (core muscles support the lower back in back bends) - with your knees bent, place your hands at the top of your thigh, breathe out and curl up, tucking your chin and sliding your hands towards your knees. Breathe in to lower back down.  Repeat twice more.  Come to all fours.  

Cat/Cow - with your hands under your shoulders, knees under hips, breathe in lift your head and chest, breathe out tuck your chin and arch your back.  Continue working with your breath for several repetitions.

Lunge variation (stretch the front of your hips and warm up the shoulders) - come back to all fours and bring your right foot to the inside of your right hand, hinge forward (pad the back knee if you need to by folding your mat or placing a cushion under it). Breathe in come up, breathe out, interlace your fingers behind your back, breathe in lift your chest, take your arms up and back. Breathe out to return to start position.  

Extended Child Pose - come to the back of your mat, big toe touching, knees wide. Walk your hands forward and bring your head to the mat, a block or a cushion. Press your tail bone back and stretch forward to lengthen your spine before back bend.  Stay here for a few breaths.  

Now you are ready to begin your back bends.

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