I know I don’t have the best form on these yoga poses, but due to my lack of flexibility in specific areas, some yoga poses are almost impossible for me. Until a year ago, I’ve never even positioned myself in any yoga pose, so really, I’ve come a long way. Basically what I’ve been doing is focusing on the areas of my body which needs to obtain more flexibility, then I picked out a few yoga poses in order to practice to help obtain more flexibility.
The following poses are the four poses which I’ve been working with lately in order to help open my chest. These poses so far have helped, but I’m not practicing them as much as I probably should be. I like to stretch/do yoga after a workout, but I do find it hard to just get into yoga alone.
Complete each of the following chest opening poses, holding each pose for 5 – 10 breaths, or 30 – 60 seconds. Move into each pose slowly, pause and hold the pose, then slowly release.
When I complete this routine, I do complete each pose, then go back through them again.
When is this routine good to do?
+ after a chest/shoulder/upper body workout
+ first thing in the morning to release tight muscles
+ anytime you feel restrained in your chest/anterior deltoids
What I really like about the camel pose, is that along with opening the chest and anterior deltoids, it really obtains flexibility in the lower back, as well as the biceps and abdominals. I remember when I first tried to do this pose, I couldn’t even get my hands back in order to touch my ankles. Once I was able to touch my ankles, reaching back and tilting my head back was hard. Now all of those things are a little easier for me and I can do deeper into the camel pose.
For full instructions on how to perform this pose see Yoga Journal; Camel Pose.
UPWARD PLANK POSE
Out of all four of these yoga poses I’ve chosen, I find that this upward plank pose is the pose which is the hardest for me to hold. Currently I’m struggling with keeping my hips in line with your body, while pushing my elbows back to obtain the full effect in my chest. I shake. My legs shake, my arms shake, my abdominals shake. I’m working on holding this pose perfectly, without any shakes.
For full instructions on how to perform this pose see Yoga Journal; Upward Plank Pose.
The cobra pose is one of my favourite poses. It really opens the chest, stretches the abdominals, hips and lower back. As you can see in this picture my elbows are still quite far forward. I took these pictures only 3 weeks ago, and even since then I’m able to push my elbows back much more. Progress is going well so far with the cobra.
For full instructions on how to perform this pose see Yoga Journal; Cobra Pose.
As you can see, the fish pose really creates a struggle for me. While being awesome for opening the chest, this particular pose also creates flexibility in the lower back. With that being said, the more I practice this pose, the more I will be able to push my head back and bend my back much more. As flexibility increases, it will look something like this. <- That’s what I was meaning by not having the proper form. I’m not here to teach bad form, I’m just being honest with you and sharing my progress along the way. 🙂
For full instructions on how to perform this pose see Yoga Journal; Fish Pose.
For those of you who live in the Toronto area and are interested in learning more about yoga, BhojanaYoga and Iam Yoga are presenting the Nourish Your Asana Series. This is a series of five modules which are focused on different health objectives, combining holistic nutrition with yoga in order to help people achieve specific health goals; like boosting energy, maintaining a healthy digestive system or promoting relaxation. Each module consists of a one hour nutrition workshop and a one hour yoga practice. You can purchase each module separately, or combine them for a discounted price. Plus, if you buy two or more modules you can get an unlimited week of practice at Iam Yoga for free!! How awesome is that? You can find out all the details here.
I feel like the NYAS event is something I should be attending. It sounds like it would be so much fun, and I really love learning new aspects of all types of fitness and nutrition. Right now I feel like I have so much going on, and two of the dates I already have plans…but that doesn’t mean I can’t still pick two and get a week’s free of unlimited yoga practice. 😉