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INTRO: *In yoga it is believed that flexibility is the ‘tonic of youth’ – a way to counteract the effects of aging.
*These 2 exercises will help open up your chest, stretch your triceps, deltoid and upper back muscles.
*You may have encountered these stretches before as they are foundational poses in yoga.
STEP 1. Grab your right elbow with your left hand.
STEP 2. Guide the right arm behind your head, placing your right hand between your two shoulder blades.
STEP 3. Push the back of your head into your arm. (Simplest variation)
STEP 4. Grab a hold of the strap. Try and walk your hands further up the strap. Hold for 5-10 breathes.
STEP 5. ADVANCED – One day you will be able to interlace fingers of both hands.
*SIDE BEND – Look over your left shoulder; keeping your ribs pushed into the body, lean over to your left and stamp down firmly with your right foot.
STEP 1. Lie on your belly.
STEP 2. Bring your left hand underneath your shoulder like a push-up. Right arm is extended out at shoulder height, palm facing down.
STEP 4. Begin to roll over to the baby toe edge of your right leg.
STEP 5. Walk your right hand further away from you.
STEP 6. Rest your right ear down, drop your head to the ground, and release your neck.
STEP 7. Place your left foot on the ground behind the right leg. Release your chest. Hold for 5-10 breathes.
ADVANCED– Reach left hand up and spin your palm away from you.
*TIPS & TRICKS –
*As with all stretching, listen to your body and modify the positions based on your individual level of flexibility!
*Exercise 1 – Make sure that your floating ribs are pulled into the body and that your core is engaged. Tuck your chin slightly towards your chest.
*Exercise 2 – This exercise stretches a variety of areas in your upper and lower body. Take your time getting into each position and breathe properly.
ABOUT JACQUI ROWLEY – Jacqui has studied movement through dance since childhood. She has been stretching, twisting, binding and playing with the physical form for years and continues to be fascinated with what the body is able to do. She teaches a challenging vinyasa flow class, with a strong emphasis on alignment, breathe and modifying as needed.
Jacqui has been climbing for 4 years, and believes yoga is a wonderful compliment, especially for the shoulders, chest and overall flexibility that would give you an advantage on the wall. Spend time with Jacqui in a yoga class @PG San Francisco!