Side & Back Arches

 

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The next transition postures of the Friendly Warrior Series are Side and Back Arches. These can be practiced as a warm-up or in preparation for additional side-focused postures, such as, Utthita Parsvakonasana, Extended Side Angle Posture or Trikonasana, Triangle Posture.

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1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart. To figure out hip-distance, locate the bony protrusions at the front of your hips. Imagine a line dropping straight down from the protrusions and landing in between the big toe and the next toe. Root the feet down towards the earth.

2. On your next inbreath, swing both arms out towards your sides and then up with your fingertips up towards the sky. On an outbreath, draw the shoulders down away from the ears as you extend up through the fingertips.

3. Next inbreath, extend up and then over towards your right side. Lengthen through the crown and the fingertips, focus on lengthening the spine rather than bending over as much as you can.

4. Allow your hips to be neutral rather than cocking to the side. Find stability by rooting down through the outer edge of the left foot.

5. Maintain the posture for 3-5 breaths, using the inbreath to lengthen and the outbreath to deepen.

6. On an inbreath, return to neutral. Repeat on left side.

7. After you practice both right and left sides, practice arching towards the back. Pay attention to rooting the balls of the feet and drawing the navel towards the spine to engage the core. As you lengthen through the crown of the head, keep the back of the neck long rather than cocking the head back. Repeat steps 5 and 6.

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Benefits

– stimulates intestinal movement
– opens sides of body
– opens + lengthens spine
– strengthens shoulders
– opens belly
– improves digestion
– opens shoulders and armpits
– relieves mild anxiety

Contraindications

– high blood pressure
– neck or shoulder injuries

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