Friday, July 29, 2011

Get Up! Move Forward!

It's summer time and it's time to get out and enjoy the pleasant weather and get back to nature. No more time for just sitting around! Get out and enjoy life! Practice this next pose as a reminder to be playful, live a little, and have some fun out there! Life is too short, right??

Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
This is a very common pose that is within the familiar Sun Salutation. It is a pose that offers upper body strength (arms, shoulders, chest), hip flexor opening, and a back bend to increase low back strength. Also, practice Upward Facing Dog as an intentional pose to remind us to get up and move forward. Take action over your own life and see what is waiting for you out there.

Start by sitting in Easy Pose (a crossed-legged position) on your yoga mat. Set your intention with a few breaths. Clear your mind, think of something you'd like to do today. Perhaps do something you haven't done for a long time or try something that is brand new to you. After you have set your intention, roll over and lie on your belly.

Place your hands along the side of your body so your thumbs are able to touch the lower two ribs. Your elbows will be bent and be sure you can press your elbows in toward your body. Also, press your hands firmly into the floor to create a strong foundation. This is the set-up for the pose so that you can move into it safely and effectively. You may notice (especially is you're able to see yourself in a mirror) that the bend in your arms form a right angle. This is ideal to lift up into the pose.

Extend your legs out behind you on the floor. The tops of your feet will be pressing into the mat and your toes pointed toward the back of the room. With an inhale, press your hands into the floor to lift your upper body off the mat. Fully extend your arms. Your shoulders should pull down away from your ears. As you lift, also lift your hips off the mat. This will help protect your lower back since you are in a minor back bend.

This could be the end of the pose, but let's make this a little bit more dynamic! You have already done the action of GETTING UP by lifting your upper body into the posture. Now it is time to MOVE FORWARD! As you press your hands fully into the floor, feel as if you are dragging your body forward. Allow your heart to open and move toward the wall in front of you. Squeeze your shoulder blades behind you for added support, strength, and movement. As you "drag" yourself forward, press the tops of your feet into the floor so that your knees also lift away from the mat. It will feel like you are in motion while performing this yoga pose. Keep your gaze forward. See what you'd like to achieve for yourself out in front of you and move toward it. Hold for at least 5 breaths. Complete this pose by returning to the floor or moving into Downward Facing Dog. From there, place your knees on the mat and sit back into Child's Pose. Practice Down Dog two more times.

Don't get stuck in old routines. Try something new. Be playful! Have fun! The intention behind this pose can guide you toward your greatest potential.


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