We have a saying in yoga that your overall health is a direct reflection of the health of your spine and depth of your breath. An expanded version of this weeks series is available in our new DVD More Power and Distance!
This week launches a new series ' developing a healthy spine. Flexibility as well as strengthening exercises offer you the opportunity to build your own back program, possibly the greatest gift you can give yourself this season (in addition to a new driver)!
Lets get started!
Left arm presses down and right arm lifts
This pose works on the extension of the intercostals, oblique abdominals, lats and shoulders. Focus on grounding the feet, specifically the right leg when the right arm is lifted. Hold the stretch for three breaths, switch sides, and repeat five times.
This is the mother of all yoga poses. In the twenty years I have been training athletes, this is one of most effective poses for developing and maintaining spinal health. Begin with the hands placed directly under the shoulders, knees directly under the hips. Inhale as you press your spine towards the floor, rolling the shoulders away from the ears.
Exhale as you pull your navel towards your spine and press you spine towards the ceiling. Tuck the chin into the chest.
Repeat ten to twenty times.
TIP: Practice this pose everyday, specifically in the early morning and evening before bedtime. This pose helps you to awaken in the morning and sleep more soundly.
Transitions from the cat/cow poses to the cobra pose. Place the hands next to the chest, squeeze the legs together, engage the gluts and on your exhale roll the shoulder blades down the back.
Maintain a neutral cervical spine position. Move directly into the Downward facing dog pose.
TIP: Initiate the movement from cobra to down dog from the lower abdominals and not from the lumbar spine.
Continue to roll the shoulders away from the ears and feel as if you are pressing your yoga mat away from you. Try to straighten the legs feeling the stretch in your hamstrings and Achilles. Hold for five breaths and repeat this cobra to down dog transition three to five times.
Send me your fitness questions! I am always open to your questions so keep them coming! Namaste, Katherine