Our FAVOURITE yoga moves – Part 1
Yoga… Oh how we love thee, let us count the ways!
- …. you get the picture
Yoga truly is an awesome exercise practice but you don’t need to be a yogi to reap the benefits. A few simple poses on a regular basis can be all it takes to have you feeling and moving better. These are some of our favourites to get you started. Stay tuned for another edition next week when we bring you Part 2.
Thread the needle
We love thread the needle for all the trunk rotation our bodies sorely miss after a day at the desk. It’s also a great starting point for achy low backs that don’t like to twist. This is the advanced or end version but it’s easily dialed back by the addition of a foam roller under the forearm to offload the twist and you can basically just go as far as you’re comfortable and only add the arm lift when you’re feeling ready.
Start on your hands and knees, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
Take one hand off the floor and reach in and through between your other arm and your legs.
Allow your body and head to follow, moving your shoulder down towards the floor as your hand reaches through.
You should feel a stretch down your side, shoulder blade and neck.
Take your upper arm and reach it up towards the ceiling, following the movement with your gaze.
Hold this position, before reversing the steps to come out of this stretch.
5 Reps / 1 s hold, followed by 3 Reps / 15 s hold.
Repeat on both sides.
Cat’s tail pose
Cat’s tail pose just feels good. With so much time spent sitting, our thighs and hip flexors need a good stretch and gently opening up the front of the hip is just lovely for cranky hips and low backs. The slight trunk stretch is also great to get a little side bending in your day. There are lots of simpler regressions we can make from the final pose too, so it’s an easy one to modify no matter your flexibility.
Lie on your back and hug one knee into your chest.
Rotate your hips over to the left so the right leg comes to the floor.
If you need to, place cushions underneath your knee.
Prop your head up on your hands.
Curl the toes of the left foot under to walk your knee behind your hip.
To go further, you can bring one hand to your knee and one to your foot and rotate your heart up to the ceiling.
You will feel a stretch in the bottom leg.
Remember to keep this knee at least as high as your hip or even higher in toward your chest.
3 Reps / 15 s hold
Child pose with a twist
Nothing is more relaxing than settling into a few deep breaths in child pose, letting all the back tension of the day just melt away. The openness of the posterior chest wall here is just awesome for getting stiff ribs moving and the little twist off to one side can be great for encouraging thoracic mobility. This is a pretty simple stretch that rarely needs regression but there are many ways we can progress this to add even more thoracic and shoulder mobility.
Kneel on the floor and sit on your heels.
You can place cushions underneath your hips if you need to.
Stretch your arms out in front of you, and walk our hands over to one side.
Keeping your hips over your heels, turn your outer palm to face up, and place the other hand on top.
Arch your outer side up a little as you reach to the side to increase the stretch.
3 Reps / 15-30 s hold. Repeat to both sides.
Puppy dog pose
The little known little sister of the downward dog, puppy dog pose is a great downward dog alternative for those with tight hamstrings – which let’s face it is most of us! You can think of this as a cross between downward dog and child’s pose, and it’s lovely to just relax and melt in to. An easy way to reverse that slouch. It can be a little tricky for those with tight shoulders or those prone to impingement pain but it’s easy enough to modify the arms to ease shoulder stress, just try taking your hands wider or crossing your arms to rest forehead to forearms.
Starting on your hands and knees, walk your hands forward.
Push your hips up to the ceiling as you allow your chest to drop down to the floor.
Keeping stable in the shoulders, slide your shoulder blades down toward your hips and let your chest settle on or as close to the floor as is comfortable.
Hold this position for up to a minute.
Get moving and give it a go
There is really nothing to yoga, it’s basically about gentle movements that feel right for your body so why not give it a try with these simple moves? You might just feel better for it! Take is easy and do what feels comfortable. Remember to never force anything, it takes time for our bodies to adapt to new movements and our bodies will often give us more when we work with them. Stay tuned for part 2.
Brought to you by our friends at Physitrack
All the images and exercise instructions here are from our good friends at physitrack – we use their app to program and monitor home exercise programs for our patients and it’s ace. It means you can never forget or get the exercise wrong and I don’t have to draw stick figures that make everyone look like a puffin (that really happens…). It also means we can program exercises that suit each individual based on their needs and their interests… prosthetic limbs, wheelchair assisted, weightlifting, pilates, yoga- we can do all of it and more thanks to Physitrack.