Mountain pose extended mountain (Baby Back Bend) function – postural alignment; spinal extension


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SUN SALUTATIONS



MOUNTAIN POSE EXTENDED MOUNTAIN (Baby Back Bend)

  • FUNCTION – postural alignment; spinal extension

  • Breath – inhale

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues (from Mountain Pose):

    • Arms reach over head
    • Shoulders drop away from ears
    • Tail tucks downward
    • Belly draws in


FORWARD FOLD

  • FUNCTION – spinal lengthening and release; gentle hamstring stretch

  • Breath – exhale

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues:

    • Belly draws in
    • Knees bend softly
    • Chest reaches forward and down
    • Body folds over thighs
    • Head relaxes down
    • Eyes look to knees


LUNGE

  • FUNCTION – here, it sets the distance for your Down Dog placement; it creates length down the front and back of the body

  • Breath – inhale

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues:

    • Right leg steps as far back as comfortable
    • Front knee sits over ankle
    • Back thigh lifts up
    • Chest opens wide


DOWN DOG

  • FUNCTION – both dynamic and restful; spinal alignment and length; overall flexible strength

  • Breath – exhale

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues:

    • Front foot steps back
    • Feet hip-distance apart
    • Tail bone/sit bones lift high
    • Hands press into floor
    • Shoulders lift away from ears
    • Spine lengthens upward to the tail
    • Inner thighs press back
    • Heels drop downward


PLANK

  • FUNCTION – upper and lower body integration; builds upper body and core strength (postural awareness)

  • Breath – Inhale

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues:

    • Chest slides forward
    • Shoulders stack over hands
    • Think Mountain Pose... posture
    • Belly draws in
    • Knees drop down (option)


CROCODILE

  • FUNCTION – full body stabilization; upper body strength and posture

  • Breath – exhale

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues:

    • Chest moves forward
    • Body lowers down
    • Elbows squeeze inward
    • Shoulders draw back and down


UP DOG

  • FUNCTION – stretches the front of the body; strengthens upper body (arms, shoulders, back); encourages spinal length

  • Breath – inhale

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues:

    • Chest curls upwards
    • Butt squeezes (to protect the back)
    • Feet press down
    • Thighs lift off the ground
    • Hands press down
    • Shoulders roll back; collarbones widen
    • Eyes look straight ahead


DOWN DOG

  • FUNCTION – both dynamic and restful; spinal alignment and length; overall flexible strength

  • Breath – exhale

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues:

    • Belly draws in
    • Hips lift up and back
    • Arms press away from the ground
    • Inner thighs reach for the back wall
  • (see previous Down Dog description for more details)



LUNGE

  • FUNCTION – creates length down the front and back of the body

  • Breath – inhale

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues:

    • Right leg springs forward between hands
    • Knee stacks over ankle
    • Chest lifts up
    • Shoulders draw back
    • Back leg lifts up


FORWARD FOLD

  • FUNCTION – spinal lengthening and release; gentle hamstring stretch

  • Breath – exhale

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues:

    • Back foot steps forward
    • Belly draws in
    • Knees bend/soften
    • Hips tilt forward
    • Spine lengthens downward


EXTENDED MOUNTAIN POSE

  • FUNCTION – postural alignment; spinal extension

  • Breath – inhale

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues (from Forward Fold):

    • Knees bend
    • Butt sits back
    • Belly draws in
    • Head reaches forward
    • Arms reach wide
    • Chest lifts
    • Spine extends upwards


MOUNTAIN POSE

  • FUNCTION – postural alignment; spinal extension

  • Breath – exhale

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues:

    • Arms release down to sides
    • Body resets in Mountain Pose


STANDING STRENGTH



WARRIOR 1

  • FUNCTION – lower body strength; internal hip rotation to balance the pelvis; back leg hip flexor/psoas stretch; spinal extension

  • Breath

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues (assuming lengthwise orientation):

    • Right foot steps as far back as comfortable


WARRIOR 1 continued

    • Heel anchors down
    • Outer edge of foot presses away
    • Back thigh lifts upward
    • Hips square up to the front
    • Glutes tuck down (to protect lower back)
    • Belly draws in
    • Chest lifts upward
    • Arms extend overhead
    • Shoulders draw down the back


EXTENDED WARRIOR 1

  • FUNCTION – increased core work (as the body lengthens forward from Warrior 1); back leg works harder to stay grounded (also a challenge for ankle/foot stability)

  • Breath

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues (moving from Warrior 1):

    • Belly draws in (for support)
    • Chest reaches forward
    • Back heel presses down
    • Body extends diagonally
    • Arms reach long


WARRIOR 2

  • FUNCTION – lower body strength (glutes, hamstrings, quads); hip opener; upper body posture

  • Breath

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues (assuming horizontal orientation):

    • Feet step wide
    • Toes turn to the right
    • Front knee bends over ankle, in line with center of foot


WARRIOR 2 continued

    • Back heel presses away
    • Back thigh lifts upward
    • Glutes tuck under
    • Inner thighs open wide
    • Hips, ribs and shoulders stack up vertically
    • Shoulders roll back and down
    • Arms extend wide to the sides
    • Eyes gaze down the front arm


EXTENDED WARRIOR 2

  • FUNCTION – increases workload of lower body muscles as you drop deeper... hamstrings lifting up from underneath and glutes working to maintain knee alignment; upper body weight dropping to the side increases the work of the oblique muscles; back leg works harder to stay grounded (also a challenge for foot and ankle stability)

  • Breath



EXTENDED WARRIOR 2 continued

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues (moving from Warrior 2):

    • Front arm reaches to the side
    • Ribs extend over front thigh
    • Elbow rests down on top of knee
    • Top arm reaches long over head
    • Shoulder draws down and back
    • Bottom ribs move forward
    • Body extends diagonally


TRIANGLE POSE

  • FUNCTION – lower body strength; hip opener; stretch over the top hip (IT band) and down the side body

  • Breath

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues:

    • Feet step wide
    • Toes turn to the right
    • Leg muscles lift upwards
    • Hips shift to the back leg


TRIANGLE POSE continued

    • Ribs lengthen away from hips
    • Arms extend to the side walls
    • Chest stays open to the front
    • Arms tip to vertical
    • Belly draws in
    • Top hip opens up
    • Tail tucks down
    • Bottom ribs soften downward
    • Top shoulder draws back and down


BALANCES



TREE POSE

  • FUNCTION – standing balance; lower body muscle activation to assist foot/ankle/knee/hip stability; increased ability to focus; awareness of core activation for stability

  • Breath

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues (starting in Mountain Pose):

    • Eyes set a steady gaze forward
    • Belly draws in (for stability)


TREE POSE continued

    • Right foot presses against standing leg (optional heights)
    • Standing leg lifts energetically upwards
    • Hips sit level
    • Tail drops down (to lengthen lower spine and anchor the pose)
    • Ribs and chest lift up off hips
    • Chest opens
    • Shoulders roll back and down
    • Hands come together at heart center


DANCERS POSE

  • FUNCTION – standing balance with spinal extension; stretch for the abdominals, chest, shoulder and hip flexor area on the lifting side; quads work to push the foot into hand; lengthening of hamstrings on the standing leg; muscles of the standing foot are active to balance as the body shifts forward

  • Breath



DANCERS POSE continued

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues (starting in Extended Mountain Pose):

    • Right hand reaches back for right foot
    • Thumb rotates up inside big toe
    • Knees together
    • Front arm reaches forward
    • Foot pushes back into hand
    • Body suspends forward
    • Chest lifts up and opens
    • Front arm rises up to full Dancer


EAGLE POSE

  • FUNCTION – standing balance; internal hip rotation and adduction (inner thigh squeeze) can provide stretch to the glutes/periformis; leg strength increases with knee bend/butt drop; spinal length and integrity as tail drops down; upper back stretch

  • Breath

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues (starting in Mountain Pose):

    • Eyes set a steady gaze forward


EAGLE POSE continued

    • Belly draws in
    • Knees bend
    • Right leg crosses over left and wraps around
    • Inner thighs drop inward and squeeze together
    • Right arm crosses under left and wraps around
    • Thumbs face the body
    • Hips sit back and down
    • Tail tucks under to lengthen spine
    • Elbows lift up
    • Hands press away (to find stretch in the upper back)




SWAN POSE

  • FUNCTION – passive position (using body weight) to stretch and release tension in the front hip (mainly periformis muscle): some stretch in the back hip flexor if able to straighten and lengthen the back leg

  • Breath

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues (moving from Down Dog):

    • Right knee comes forward between hands
    • Right hip settles down onto floor


SWAN POSE continued

    • Right foot flexes (to protect knee)
    • Back hip rolls forward (to square the hips)
    • Back leg extends to the back wall
    • Knee and five toes face down to the floor
    • Belly draws in
    • Ribs lift and roll forward away from hips
    • Chest reaches forward
    • Arms lengthen out
    • Hips soften down


MODIFIED HALF LOTUS

  • FUNCTION – deep hip and butt stretch; also opening through the pelvis if you move to the lying back positions

  • Breath

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues (moving from seated/cross-legged position):

    • Right ankle sets on top of left thigh (options here)


MODIFIED HALF LOTUS continued

    • Sit bones move back and press down
    • Knees drop down and press forward
    • Ribs lift up off hips (spine lengthens upward)
    • Chest reaches forward
    • Hands walk forward along the floor
    • Butt stays back and down
    • Hands can press down to push the butt back




THE 3B’s – BELLY, BACK AND BREATHING

  • FUNCTION – stabilizing the spine during core movements (for safety and effectiveness); maintaining core connection (neutral rib-hip position) while breathing out the side of the ribs versus expanding the front ribs

  • Breath – lateral thoracic breathing



THE 3B’s – BELLY, BACK AND BREATHING continued

  • Body Part and Direction setup cues:

    • Belly draws in
    • Back presses towards the floor (if supine)
    • Back creates platform for belly lift (if prone)
    • Side ribs expand with breath



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