Healthy Habits Week 4: Back Warm Up

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Healthy Habits Week 4: Back Warm Up 2
  • line drawing adapted from:

A. Standing Mountain Pose

  1. With your feet together or hip-width apart, stand at the top of your mat with arms by your sides.
  2. Turn your arms to face forward with your palms forward, opening your chest.
  3. Keep your chin parallel to the floor. Inhale.
  4. Exhale, raise arms in a sweeping motion overhead.

B. Standing Back Bend

  1. On an inhale, reach your arms up beside you, and in line with your ears. Have your thumbs meet again at the top of the motion.Your thumbs should be pointing to the back walls.
  2. Add a very slight backbend here (only to tolerance). Imagine that your spine is lengthening backwards, ever so slightly.

C. Forward Fold

  1. On an exhale, bring your arms down, reaching wide, and fold forward at your hips.
  2. Place your hands on your shins, grazing the floor in front of your feet, on blocks or modify with a chair in front of you.
  3. Hang your head freely. Gently nod “yes” and “no”.
  4. Deep inhales and exhales here.

D. Half Forward Fold

  1. On an inhale, lift your torso halfway up, with a long spine. Bend at the hips, not through the low back.
  2. Place your hands on your shins (or halfway up from your full standing forward bend.)
  3. Flow through forward fold, as above.

E. Half-Plank to Plank Position

  1. Exhale. Place your hands on the floor, approximately shoulder-width apart. Step back to Plank Pose, balancing on your toes and hands. Draw firm through the belly. Imagine you are one straight line from heels to hips to shoulders, neck and head. Feel weight equally through hands and feet and keep pelvis balanced.
  2. Align your wrists under elbows. Exhale, bend your elbows halfway, while keeping a neutral spine. Hover off the floor.
  3. Reminder to keep your belly strong and keep the back of your neck long.

F. Upward-Facing Dog

  1. Inhale. “Roll” over your toes so the tops of your feet are pressed to the floor.
  2. Exhale. Press your arms straight. This will put you into a slight back bend. Again, imagine the spaces between your vertebrae lengthening, not compressing.
  3. Keep your thighs lifting away from the floor as your tailbone reaches toward your heels. Ensure your abs are engaged. If this feels like too much in the back, bring the knees to the floor.

G. Downward-Facing Dog

  1. Inhale. Roll back to tippy-toes, and draw your tailbone up to the ceiling. You will now be in an upside-down “V” shape.
  2. Make sure your arms are straight and strong. Draw the shoulderblades down the back and take your shoulders away from the ears.
  3. Keep your neck straight. Gaze between your feet and hold for 5 breath cycles. (Don’t hold your breath…inhale and exhale to get the most out of this pose.)

Now, reverse through the cycle:

  • exhale and walk your fingers from down dog back to forward fold
  • inhale to half-forward fold
  • exhale again to forward fold
  • inhale, sweeping arms up to come into standing back bend
  • bring arms back to prayer to bring you back to mountain pose.

Repeat for three to five minutes!

We have included a link to follow along:

***as with any exercise, please take it slowly. If in doubt check with Dr. Reed first. Stop if this makes you sore!