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Posts tagged ‘gentle yoga’

My granny’s back…

Well my 84 year old granny’s back is much improved from doing the very simple yoga exercises that I recommended she do:

From sitting – gentle side bends and rotation of the spine both ways. Then Savasana with knees bent alternating with the beginnings of Setu Bhandasana – getting the lumber spine onto the ground and creating space for the lower vertebrae. Also a little bit of Little Boat – when she can manage it.

I’ve asked her to try and do these movements 2 or 3 times a day. I think she started with 3 times and her back quickly improved – but then it went down to 2  and now – because she’s very busy (!) she usually only manages once a day.

Her back isn’t as good as when she first started the exercises – but much better than when she was doing nothing.

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pose of the week – sitting with wide legs – upavistha konasana…

wide leg sitting – upavistha konasana

Benefits:  Can strengthen the muscles around the knees and help this area from feeling so vulnerable. Also strengthens the abdominal muscles and can improve flexibility in the hips and hamstrings.

Contraindication: This is generally a very safe posture to practice, but if it feels a strain keeping the upper body upright,  place a cushion just underneath your tailbone. This will give you some extra support and make the posture feel much more pleasant to do.

As with all poses of the week – if it doesn’t feel good to be in – don’t do it for now (until you have the advice of an experienced yoga teacher…)

Practice:  Sit on the floor with your legs comfortably wide. Placing hands wherever they feel relaxed – resting on the belly, or on the thighs…

Allow your hips and legs to be heavy and feel the sitting bones very much in contact with the ground…

Have an awareness of your spine being long and gently lengthening upwards.

Breathe easily and freely…

Stay in this posture as long as you feel happy being here…

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…