Basic Practice: Upper Body Strength from the Arms, Chest Sides and Back

This practice is all about upper body strength, but not just the strength of the chest, shoulders and arms. In addition, think about supporting the arms and shoulders by detaching them from the neck and allowing them to rest on the rib cage. Expand the ribcage evenly—front and back, left and right—to support the weight of 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

Urdhva Baddha Hastasana (Upward Bound Hands Pose) with the back against the wall

All Fours INTO Child’s Pose

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

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

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart, clasping the elbows

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Chaturanga Cycle with Block:
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
• Lower down into the pose with the chest resting on a block.
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
• From Chaturanga Dandasana, push the block forward with the chest to lift up into the pose.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Repeat the whole cycle 3 to 6 times.

Utthita Hasta Padasana (Extended Hands and Feet Pose)
• Pause here for a few moments before moving into the next pose.

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

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with the knee on the ground

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation with the hands on blocks

Setu Bandha With the feet on blocks

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

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the torso on a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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