Basic Practice: Strengthening and Lengthening the Sides of the Torso

In this sequence, consider where the strength of the arms is coming from. Instead of the shoulders and shoulder blades being attached to the neck, think of them as dropping down and being supported by the ribs underneath them. Widen the ribs in the front and back body evenly, reaching the arms from them instead of pushing from the shoulders or the chest. Allow the collar bones and shoulder blades to widen into the arms.

The Sequence:

Side Stretch at the wall
• Stand with the feet together about eight to twelve inches away from the wall and lean the right hip, waist and ribs against it. Reach the right arm up. Pause here for a few breaths.
• Come up onto the balls of the feet. Stay here for a few breaths.
• Slowly drop the right heel, resisting up through the ribs and arms to lengthen out the right side of the waist. When the right heel is down, drop the left.
• Bend the right elbow and clasp it with the left hand. Draw the upper arm bone up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Take the tip of the elbow up and over the top of the head while keeping the outer armpit moving into the wall. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Turn the chest a slightly into the middle of the room to send the stretch towards the back. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Release and repeat on the second side.

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms with the back against the wall

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
• Clasp the elbows behind the back and hold. Do both crossings.

Chaturanga Block Sequence:
[Cycle through these poses, resting the chest on a block in Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) and pushing it forward to come up into Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose).]

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
• Cycle through these 3 to 5 times.

Utthita Hastasana (Extended Hands Pose)
• Spread the arms in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and hold.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with the elbow bent and the forearm on the ground

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with one knee down

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) Table Top Variation with the hands on blocks

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on blocks

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on the floor

Reclined Hip Stretch

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1) with the feet on the wall

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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