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Posts tagged ‘back bend’

pose of the week… cobra – bhujangasana…

cobra – bhujangasana

BENEFITS:  Strengthens the back muscles. May be beneficial for sciatica. Can be good for rounded shoulders as it encourages opening in front of the collarbones. Increases flexibility in the whole of the spine.  Is said to sometimes help stomach aches…

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Obviously pregnancy puts some restraints on practicing this posture!  Mother’s to be who normally practice this posture will find up until 12 weeks comfortable to do – but listen to your body – and don’t do it if it feels like an effort. We are all unique and different, so only practice if it feels good to do…

PRACTICE: Lie prone with the hands either side of the chest to begin with. The more comfortable the posture becomes – the further down the body your hands can go when preparing for the pose. Keep your eyes looking towards the ground. (You can shut them if you want to…)

Take a journey around your body and see if there is anything still holding. If there is then imagine you are breathing into it. Visualise the area softening and releasing.

Relax and breathe freely and easily…

Notice your hands and the contact they have with the ground…

Feel your spine moving as you breathe…

When you are ready, next time you breathe out engage your thigh muscles. Allow the legs to become heavier and lengthen the tailbone away.

As the upper body becomes lighter, ground the hands and allow  your arms to push you up.

Keep the elbows a little bent – so the arms don’t lock and become stiff . Keeping the arms bent will have the added benefit of helping them to strengthen.

Be aware of keeping the front of the chest and shoulders, wide and free.

Keep length at the back of your neck by allowing the chin be lower (rather than higher).

Enjoy your long spine, strong, (but not locked) arms and broad open shoulders. Breathe and stay for as long as it feels good to do…

Come down gently and then rest in child for a few breaths…

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pose of the week… little bridge – setu bandhasana

BENEFITS:  Lengthens the spine – especially in the lower back. Can help ease lower back ache.  Helps to open the front of the shoulders. Tones the abdominal muscles. Very relaxing and can relieve stress.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Most mother’s to be will find lying on the back, uncomfortable to do towards the end of pregnancy – anytime from 30 – 40 weeks. You will know when it isn’t beneficial for you and your baby, as you will feel very breathless and ‘have’ to roll over onto your side. As with all poses of the week, only practice if it feels good to do…

PRACTICE: Lying on your back, gently hug the knees towards you. This will give you a nice long spine.

Take a moment to breathe…

When you feel ready – the next time you breathe out,  place your feet on the ground about hip width apart, fairly close to your pelvis. Take a moment to establish the feeling of your feet on the ground…

On an exhalation emphasize your footprints – This will lighten the pelvis and bring the back of your waist to the floor.

When you breathe in – relax everything.

The next time you breathe out, push your feet into the ground a little more so that your pelvis begins to rise up with some of the lower spine. When you breathe in, come down vertebra, by vertebra until the pelvis is back down on the floor again and relax completely.

Carry on with these movements of pushing the feet into the ground as you breathe out and releasing everything as you breathe in.

To get even more space in the lower spine visualize the tailbone being pulled away as your pelvis rises up. Keep this image of the tailbone being pulled away as the hips come down as well.

Only go as high with the pelvis as feels comfortable and stop when you have had enough…

When you are finished, gently hug your knees towards you and take a gentle rock from side to side. Take a moment to breathe…

pose of the week… locust – salabhasana

locust - salabhasana

BENEFITS: Can tone the legs and abdominals. Strengthens the back muscles. May be beneficial for sciatica. Some people with slipped discs can also find this posture helpful (but do check with a yoga teacher or GP before trying)

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Obviously pregnancy puts some restraints on practicing this posture! Most mother’s to be will find up until 12 weeks comfortable to do – but listen to your body – as we are all unique and different. Only practice if it feels comfortable and good to do…

PRACTICE: Lie prone with your arms resting at the sides of your body – palms facing up, eyes looking towards the ground. (You can shut them if you want to…)

If it feels uncomfortable on your nose, roll up the front of your mat and place it underneath your forehead.

When you lie on your front, the back of the neck often lengthens quite quickly. If this is happens to you, lift the forehead, and place it a little further away from yourself.

Relax completely and breathe…

Take a journey around your body and see if there is anything still holding. If there is then imagine you are breathing into it. Visualise the area softening and releasing.

Breathe freely and easily…

Notice your spine moving as you breathe…

When you are ready, engage the thigh muscles the next time you breathe out. Allow the legs to become heavier and lengthen the tailbone away.

As the tailbone lengthens away, you may feel a gentle ripple travel up your spine…An undulation, which when reaching the upper vertebrae brings some lightness there. The shoulders and head may come off the ground…

But just a little bit – be aware of keeping space at the back of the neck – so that your gaze is still towards the mat.

As you breathe in, relax and give into the ground again.

Keep playing with going up on the exhalation and resting and preparing on the inhalation.

Rest when you have had enough and enjoy giving into the ground once again for a few moments.

Child’s pose is a good counter pose to do after locust…

* I have shown the upper body raise for now as I feel it is easier to obtain a feeling of relaxation and spine lengthening than when you also raise the legs…