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Locust Pose (Shalabhasana) View
Lie on belly, arms along your sides, palms up. Forehead rests on mat. Turn big toes together, rotating thighs inward. Anchor pelvis to floor. Exhale lifting head, upper torso, arms, and legs up from mat. Raise arms parallel to the floor and reach back actively bringing shoulder blades together. Keep neck straight and long, gazing towards floor. Hold for several seconds, then release. Repeat x5.
Benefits: strengthens upper and lower back. Massages abdomen and reproductive organs. Contraindications: serious back injury, be careful to support neck or keep neck in neutral position if there is a neck injury.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) View
Lie on the belly with your hands by your side with your, palms up. Exhale and bend your knees and bring the feet towards the buttocks. Reach back and take hold of both ankles. The knees should only be hip distance apart, if possible.
Inhale, lifting the heels away from the buttocks and also lift your thighs up from the floor. Your head and upper will follow and lift off of the floor. Keep your back muscles soft. Continue to lift, press the shoulder blades together and open the chest. Draw the shoulders away from the ears. Gaze forward while breathing more into the back. Breathe here for about 20 seconds, release with an exhale and repeat one or two more times.
Benefits: Stretches ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, throat, and hips. Strengthens back muscles. Stimulates abdominal organs
Contraindications: High or low blood pressure, migraine headaches, low back or neck injury
Half Frog Pose (Ardha Bhekasana) View
Begin prone on belly with bring legs together, toes pointed. Place elbows under shoulders. Lift head and upper torso. Bent right knee. Reach back with right hand, grasp right foot. Gently rotate your elbow upward, sliding your fingers over the top of the foot, over the toes. Base of the palm presses the top of the foot. Draw foot down outside of the hip. Lift chest, keep back of neck long. Hold for several breaths, release, and then continue on opposite side.
Modification: Press foot toward seat, without turning hand. Benefits: Stretches the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat, and deep hip flexors (psoas). Strengthens back muscles. Improves posture. Stimulates the organs of the abdomen. Contraindications: Injury to lower back, knee, rotator cuff
Frog Pose (Bhekasana) View
Begin prone on belly with bring legs together, toes pointed. Place elbows under shoulders. Lift head and upper torso. Bent both knees. Reach back and grasp both feet. Gently rotate your elbows upward, sliding your fingers over the tops of the feet, over the toes. Base of the palm presses the top of each foot. Draw feet down outside of the hips. Lift chest, keep back of neck long.
Modification: Press feet toward seat, without turning hands. Benefits: Stretches the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat, and deep hip flexors (psoas). Strengthens back muscles. Improves posture. Stimulates the organs of the abdomen. Contraindications: Injury to lower back, knee, rotator cuff
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) View
Lie on the belly with legs are stretched back, feet together, tops of feet on floor. Place the chin on mat, hands flat on mat underneath shoulders, elbows in. Inhale, straightening arms, bringing chest up and hold for 15-30 seconds. Release to mat with exhale. Keep movement slow with long, deep breaths.
Benefits: stretches the spine, massages the abdomin, reproductive organs, kidneys. Increases circulation. Opens heart and lungs.
Contraindications: back injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, pregnancy
Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana) View
Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) View
Plank Pose View
Begin in downward facing dog pose, arms straight, hands stable, fingers wide. On the exhale, bring your body forward, lowering the hips and tailbone, making the back straight. Arms are straight, head and neck in line. Push firmly away from the mat, not allowing shoulders, chest, or abdomen sink-keep them firm and in-line.
Benefits: Strengthens arms, wrists, chest, spine and abdomen
Contraindications: Carpal tunnel syndrome, arm or wrist injury
Knees-Chest-Chin Pose (Ashtanga Namaskara) View
The Sanskrit name translates as ‘Eight-Limbed Salutation’. The ‘eight limbs’ refers to the parts of the body that touch the ground: chin, chest, both hands, both knees, and both sets of toes. This pose is an element of Sun Salutations, and an alternative to the more difficult Chaturanga pose (below).From Plank position, drop the knees to the floor, toes tucked under, elbows hugging the ribcage, and shoulders just above the wrists. Keep hips lifted upward and palms flat as you bring chest to mat between your hands and chin to floor. Hold, breathing smoothly for several breaths, and then lower all the way to the mat to rest. If this pose is part of a Sun Salutation sequence, push forward and come up into cobra.
Benefits: Increases the flexibility of spine. Strengthens arms, shoulders, legs, abdomen, and back. Builds strength to prepare for more advanced arm-balancing and weight-bearing poses.
Contraindications: Carpal tunnel syndrome. Recent neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist injury, and pregnancy.
Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana) View
Begin in downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana), then Plank Pose. Exhale, bend elbows straight behind you, touching the sides of the body. Lower torso and legs to a few inches above and parallel to the floor. Pull navel up towards spine. Shoulders are parallel with elbows. (Do not allow the lower back to sway towards the floor, keep tailbone stable.) Keep space between the shoulder blades. Press fingers firmly to floor. Lift top of the sternum and your head to look forward. To release, gently lower your body to rest on the ground. Lay your arms out by your sides and rest for several breaths.
Benefits: Strengthens arms and wrists and abdominal muscles
Contraindications: Carpal tunnel syndrome or other wrist injury, pregnancy
Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana) View
Begin in Downward Facing Dog Pose. Exhale, step right foot up outside of the right hand. Both hands are left of the right foot. Right knee is bent and right thigh is parallel to the floor. Lower down onto elbows and gaze forward and slightly down, keeping the neck in line with the spine. Press the left heel back, and keep the hips square. Hold pose for 5-10 breaths. Release by pressing palms down and straightening arms and step back to Downward Facing Dog. Repeat om opposite side.
Modifications: Lower left knee to the mat if needed or keep the arms straight to lessen intensity. Place padding (blanket or folded mat) under knee to ease discomfort. Benefits: Hip opener, stretches the hamstrings and quads. Strengthens leg and gluteal muscles. Relieves tension and anxiety. Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the knees, hips, legs, or ankles.
Downward Facing Frog Pose (Adho Mukha Mandukasana) View
Begin in table pose. Slowly widen your knees out to the sides until you feel a stretch in your inner thighs. Draw the ankles directly behind the knees with the feet turned outward. Keep the inside of each calf and foot in contact with the floor and ankles in line with your knees. Bring the elbows and forearms on to the floor with the palms flat on the floor or with the palms pressed together. Exhale pressing the hips back until you feel a deep stretch in the hips and inner thighs. Hold the pose for several breaths. Release by easing hips forward and press back to Table Pose.
Modifications: Place folded blankets under the knees or elbows. Benefits: Opens the hips, groin and inner thighs. Opens chest and shoulders, calming. Therapeutic for menstrual cramps Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the knees, hips, legs, or ankles.
Crocodile pose (Makarasana ) View