Yoga is a practice of meditation, spiritualism, and physical disciplines that has quickly become a very popular mainstream alternative for stress reduction, increasing core strength, and correcting posture. The following is a series of simple poses and stretching exercises to help strengthen the neck, shoulders, chest, spine and abdomen while focusing on improving and releasing and postural discomfort.
On your hands and knees, starting with a neutral spine, inhale and begin to extend your spine by bringing your hips and tail bone up following up with your collarbone, chin, and lifting up with you eyes.
As you exhale, press in with the abdominals as you flex your spine. Releasing your neck and head, let your breath draw you into that extension as you begin to curve the spine once again. Going at your own pace continue to extend and release your spine.
Then with your back flat, bring your right or left knee in toward the chest as you draw your chin to your knee. As you inhale bring that foot out, accentuating the extension of the spine with your knee or your foot, pressing the abdomen in as you squeeze that knee and raise your heads towards your knee.
Switch between legs and continue.
On your hands in knees in Table pose, bring your knees, heels and toes together. Begin to press your abdominal muscles in and bring your hips forward toward the space created between your hands. As you roll your shoulders to the back, look down or lift your chin and eyes.
To rest, come back up to your hands and knees, or move the knees further away from each other and come into Child pose. Press your palms of your hands and your hips as far back as possible, bringing them to rest between your heels. Rest your forehead on the mat.
Come back into Cobra. This time, to truly engage the abdomen, lift your hips leaving your knees on the mat, or for more intensity lift both your hips and your knees off the mat. To rest, drop your knees and/or hips back down to the mat.
Come back into Child pose, and rest. From here roll the mat over once or twice to create a cushion and rest your forehead on it. Curl your toes from underneath and with your hands at the sides of your head press down with your toes as you begin to flex your spine creating an arch. Roll from your forehead to the crown of your head, supporting yourself with your arms and hands.
If you prefer to use less of your hands, try bringing them behind your back interlacing the fingers, resting the hands on your back. Come to rest with your forehead on the mat and push your head and shoulders back up into Table pose.
From Table pose, slide your feet and legs back toward the mat bringing your hips down, as you rest your abdomen, ribs, chest, and forehead on the mat. From here, slide your hands to the sides of your hips, palms facing up, resting your shoulders. Then without lifting either hip off the mat, lift your right foot up stretching that leg, while pressing the right hip into the mat.
Slowly lower that leg, resting it as you switch to the opposite leg. Switch between the two legs as you become ready.
Then rest your chin on the mat as you being to press your abdomen in, engaging your lower back muscles. Lift your feet off the mat following with your head, shoulders, knees, and chest. Keeping your hands by your sides, palms facing up for support, slowly come in to an Upward Bow.
For more intensity lift your hands off the mat. Lower them back down to rest
at anytime. Other alternatives include bringing your hands out to the center
or out in front, still keeping your shoulders down, either looking down or lifting
your eyes up.
Any time bring your hands back to your hips as you rest your legs, abdomen, chest and head. Coming up when ready.
From Table pose spread your fingers and thumbs out, grounding the palms of your hands, while lowering your head down and pushing your hips up toward the ceiling. In this position relax your head and neck, while keeping your knees bent and soft.
Begin alternating from one leg to the other as you press your right heel towards
the mat, making your leg long and straight. You will want to start switching
legs as you begin to press on heel into the mat.
When ready, bend both knees coming back to Table pose. Then, draw your left knee forward, while sliding your right foot back. Focus primarily your hips while moving them side-to-side.
Remain as your are or depending on how flexible or willing your left leg is, slide your left foot closer to the alignment of your right, using your hands for support and balance.
When ready, press your hips back into Downward Facing Dog, sliding the left leg next to the right one. Once again alternating from one knee and heel to the other, going back and forth. Continue to lower your ribs and head down closer down to the mat. Then switch to the other side.
After completing the second side, move back into Downward Facing Dog, alternating from one heel to the other. Then bring both legs and knees to neutral, bending the knees and coming back down to your hands and your knees, while resting the front of your feet down.
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