If your upper body has been feeling tight or you participate in sports such as swimming, golfing, baseball and more - then this practice is for you! We work to bring balance to both sides equally while opening the entire upper body. Practice on your own with the guide here or click on the video link at the bottom to join me online for this practice. Enjoy!
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Hold: 2-6 mins
Take arms wide - level with shoulders or bent elbows (more chest opening) and cross the right leg over the left - winding once or double wrap. Press through the foot and gently shift hips over to the right. Drop knees over to the left and turn head to the right. Allow gravity to take the knees over and if you feel you can, walk the left toes back behind you more for more twist. To come out, engage your core and bring legs back to center. Drop feet wide on the mat and let knees come together. Breathe here for 8 breaths and try second side.
1/2 Melting Heart Pose (Anahatasana)
Hold: 2-5 mins
Come onto hands and knees (blanket underneath for comfort if needed). Begin to drop your belly down towards the floor keeping hips directly over knees. Start to walk your hands out in front of you (wide if that opens your shoulders more). Take your right hand and cross the forearm so you can rest your forehead on top of it or a block. Take your left arm out straight overhead or at an angle to the left. Allow your back to lengthen and your chest to drop - stretching your side body, shoulders and chest. Breathe deeply into the spine and chest (engage navel if this is too much on your lower back). To come out, engage your core and begin to lift, walking your hands back towards your knees. Take Downward Facing Dog for 5-8 breaths - bending one knee and the other. Continue to the other side with the left forearm bent under your head and right arm outstretched in front.
Hold: 2-5 minutes/side
Sit on the very edge of a blanket or the floor allowing your hips to settle and ground. Open your legs as wide as you can hold for longer (2/3 of your maximum), keeping the knees soft. Take a block over to the outer right side of your knee. Turn your body to the left slightly and then lean over to the right placing your elbow on the block with your fist supporting your head. Start the block high and as you feel comfortable - you can release it to a lower height or the floor. Take your left hand and reach it high up over your head then allow it to drape and support your head slightly. If this is too much, take the left hand alongside your body or right behind the left hip. To come up, release your left hand to your hip and use the right hand to push yourself up to center. Take a few moments in the middle to settle and sense how your body feels. Then, take the second side.
Hold: 2-3 minutes per side
Come onto your belly taking your feet wider than the hips apart. Tuck your right arm, palm up, underneath your body and your left arm behind your right (palm up) so they are crisscrossed underneath your shoulders. Tuck your chin into the x in the middle or rest your forehead on a block or blanket. Breathe deeply and allow the shoulders to unwind and release. Have patience with this pose - breath into it and allow it to work it's magic. It is not an easy pose to hold but you will feel AMAZING when you come out! To come out, lift your chin and begin to unwind. Take a few minutes with arms bent out to sides and feel the sensations in your arms and shoulders. Take the second side crisscrossing the arms the opposite way with left arm in front of right.
Sphynx Pose (lifted)
Hold: 2-5 minutes
Stack 2 blocks side by side with a blanket on top or use a bolster. Bring your elbows under your shoulders or slightly in front on top of the bolster, palms together with outside edge down. Feel your chest pulling forward and towards the floor. You can sink your chest between your shoulders OR keep lightly engaged to lighten the load on the back. If you want more, bend your knees to 90 degrees and/or drop your chin to your chest. Sense the area of your lower back and breath into it. To come out, slowly lower your head to the bolster and take your hands out to sides. Slowly roll onto your back and take a few breaths with your entire body flat on the floor.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Allow the feet to slide out to the sides of your mat and allow your knees to drop towards one another. Slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands out to the sides, palms up. Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Release your lower back and allow the breath to expand the lungs outwards, forwards and backwards - massaging the entire upper body. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go!
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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