Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) can really come to life providing you correctly position the shoulder girdle and pelvic girdle. This asana stretches and rejuvenates the entire body from the feet all the way up to the hips and down through the wrist and hands. The shoulders, hamstrings, calves and hands are all stretched and the arms and legs are strengthened. This asana also calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression.
Step by Step Guide to Downward Facing Dog
• On all fours
• Tuck the toes under and then lift the hips up and back while straightening the legs
• Keep the thighs and heels high
• Rotate the shoulders out, (if difficult to straighten arms turn hands out slightly alternatively if you are hyperflexing your elbows turn your palms slightly in)
• Rotate the forearms inwards
• The feet should be hip distance apart with outer edges of the feet parallel
• Press the thighs back and lengthen the spine
• Take the inner thighs back to soften the pressure in your lower back and draw the tailbone back and heels down if you can
• You may find it difficult to straighten the legs, if so bring your feet wider apart and keep your knees slightly bent if necessary
• You should maintain a light engagement in your abdomen during this asana
• The head should be relaxed down between the arms with the eyes gazing back to the ankles if possible.
Any wrist issues you can rest on forearms.
Any injuries to the back, hips, arms or shoulders, you need to ensure you correctly position the body in order to protect the joints. Only work within the limits of own body and rest at any time.
Pelvic Curl is a great exercise for mobilising the spine and working the abdominals to help support the lower back. The muscles surrounding the pelvic region and upper legs are also brought into play.
Step by Step Guide to Pelvic Curl
• Lie flat on your back with the knees bent and the feet flat on the mat and hip-width apart
• Place the arms by the sides with the palms facing down
• Focus inward, and consciously relax the neck, shoulders and lower back muscles while maintaining a neutral pelvic position.
• Inhale and then as you exhale draw the abdominal muscles inwards and slowly curl the pelvis and lower, middle and the upper back slowly off the mat
• Inhale and lift the trunk slightly higher to form a straight line and hold
• Exhale and slowly lower the trunk, vertebra by vertebra to return to the start position
• Your shoulders and neck should remain relaxed throughout this exercise
• Repeat this exercise up to 10 times.
Virabhadrasana 1 or Warrior 1 is a great asana for building strength, stability and mobility and is particularly good for stretching and strengthening the shoulders, arms, legs, ankles and back and for stretching the abdomen.
Step by Step Guide to Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1)
• Take the legs wide apart and turn one foot slightly in and the other straight out
• Take both arms up and reach up whilst keeping the shoulder blades drawn together and down opening up the chest
• Exhale and rotate the body keeping the pelvis square
• Arch back slightly and with your back heel firmly on the floor exhale and bend your front knee lowering your front thigh towards the floor to a parallel position if possible, if not just go as low as you can
• Lift the front of your hips away from your front leg while lightly drawing your lower belly and sacrum towards each other
• Hold this position and reach strongly through your arms lifting the ribcage away from the pelvis
• Keep gazing forwards then if you like you can place the palms together and gaze up at the thumbs
• When you’re ready inhale and lift back up by pushing through the back heel and straightening the front leg
• Lower the arms and turn back to centre
Uttanasana or Forward Fold is a great asana for stretching the hamstrings, calves and hips and for strengthening the thighs and knees.
Step by Step Guide to Uttansana/Forward Fold
• Stand with the feet slightly apart
• Keep the knees slightly bent
• Inhale and then as you exhale hinge from the hips and not the waist and let the arms fall forwards
• If you’re prone to dizziness make sure you position your feet a little wider apart to give yourself a firm base
• If you feel dizzy then slowly sit down
• Straighten your legs if you can, if not just keep your knees bent
• With your first two fingers and thumb grab hold of your big toe and ground it firmly to the floor
• Relax in this position for a few deep breaths.
• Press your heels firmly to the floor while keeping the weight forwards onto the balls of your feet
• Lift the sitting bones
• Turn the tops of the thighs slightly inward
• You should feel the stretch in the calves, the hamstrings and any tension being released from the spine
• Feel comfortable and relaxed in this position
• When you’re ready to move out of this position bend the knees further into a squat position and push up through the legs
• People with back injury, osteoporosis or both should approach this exercise very cautiously.
• People with high blood pressure should go into this pose gradually and remain in it only if their breathing is not strained.
• People with low blood pressure should come out of this pose very slowly, because they may become dizzy
Any good golf pro will tell you that the underlying fault in a poor golf swing is in the body itself not just for example in the grip, the stance, movement of the hips etc. Indeed, many top golfers are including mind and body activities such as Yoga and meditation into their daily fitness programmes. One of the main positives is that these types of exercises are suitable for everyone at all fitness levels.
I specialise in providing Yoga for golfers. I studied biomechanics of the golf swing during my Sports Science course many years ago and whilst measuring technologies have improved the basic analysis remains the same. I focus on Yoga exercises (postures/asanas particularly for the shoulders, spine and hips) which can improve club head speed, weight shift and motion and the differential between hip and shoulder rotation during the golf swing, all factors which formulate the perfect gold swing.
My classes share key basic principles with golf; flow of motion, precision, power, control, balance and concentration. My experiences and knowledge in the sport and fitness industry enable me to deliver workouts (groups or 1 to 1) to golfers allowing them to play with a strong and more flexible body. I'm based in Sheffield UK and Sotogrande, Spain. Please message firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
At some point in their lives most people will experience some kind of back pain. Yoga for healthy backs is, therefore, great for everyone. Yoga for healthy backs brings together asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing), mudra, yoga nidra, mantra and meditation into a complete package. This combination of physical movement, mental awareness, concentration and breathing has proven to improve spinal function and provide pain relief.
We live in an era of evidence based medicine and doctors can now see that Yoga helps people with back pain. It's good science that just can't be ignored. My Yoga for Healthy backs class has been specifically designed to be used in the mainstream wellness setting e.g. wellness in the workplace or physiotherapy rehabilitation. Small group or one to one sessions are available. For more information message email@example.com
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