Many helpful stretches for the back are done on all fours: it feels wonderful to arch the spine in cat pose, rest in child’s pose, loosen the hips by circling them around on hands and knees. These are all simple and beneficial movements, especially if you want to release tight lower back muscles. But what if you can’t kneel easily? What can you do, for example, if your knees prevent you from putting weight on them, or if this position with the head looking down is counter-indicated for glaucoma? There are many soothing yoga poses that you can do lying on your back, but mobilising the spine in a seated position can be beneficial too. Today I am looking at how you can stretch your spine in a cross-legged position or seated on a chair.
If you feel unstable and even uncomfortable in standing yoga poses, balances and other asanas that require strength, it is possible that your abdominal muscles are not engaging properly. Weak abdominals will fail to hold the trunk steady in static or dynamic yoga poses. As a result you may feel wobbly and quickly tired. Even if you have done many abdominal workouts, your strong abs may have become too rigid to freely release and contract during movements. This blog demonstrates that if you know how to use them, abdominal muscles can improve stability in yoga poses.
For my third blog this summer I promised to tackle core strength. Abdominal strengthening is a necessary part of any back care programme, but incorporating it into a yoga regime can offer a different and effective approach. Strengthening abdominal muscles in isolation is not necessarily the best way to create core strength. Likewise, it is not healthy (or possible?) to hold your abdomen in all the time. Both lead to holding patterns that do not facilitate free breathing, easy movement or relaxation. This blog looks at true core strength from a whole-body perspective: demonstrating movements that engage core muscles in coordination with other muscles, the aim is to show you how to lay the foundation for a healthy back.
If you can easily do press-ups, keeping your body straight as you lower it to the ground and effortlessly raise it again … this blog is not for you. This blog is for those of us who don’t know how to even start arm strengthening. It is for those of us whose back is suffering more because our arms are not strong enough when lifting or carrying. It is aimed to help you feel more ease when doing yoga poses that require arm strength. And, since this blog is part of the summer-body series, it is for those of us who would like to have a bit more tone in the upper arms when wearing summer tops.