Our shoulders and upper back often carry the tensions and stresses of our daily lives. Too much time spent at the computer or slouching on the couch at night can cause an over rounding of the shoulders and a collapsed chest which makes breathing difficult. Below are a few practices to help open the upper back and bring some breath and movement into the heart center.
Place hands together at the heart, keep thumbs and little fingers together, open other fingers and create cup shape between palms.
Benefits: Elevates heart energy, integrates body and mind
Begin on the hands and knees, toes pointed. Inhale lift the sternum forward and drop the pubic bone back between the legs to arch the spine. Exhale round the back and drop the head and tail bone towards the floor. Repeat with your breath 10 times.
Therapeutics: Massages the internal organs and warms-up the muscles along the spine.
Balasana to Extended Virasana (Child's Pose to Hero Pose)
Begin n Balasana. Inhale and lift chest, raise arms overhead and press pelvis forward. Exhale sit back on heels and fold forward bringing hands beside feet.
Therapeutics: Alternately stretches and strengthens the muscles of the torso front to back.
Half Circle Pose
Begin kneeling. Straighten left leg out to side and bring right hand to floor to the right of the right knee. Inhale left arm up and either circle arm or hold it statically. Repeat to both sides.
Therapeutics: Opens the side chest and if you move the arm it also awakens the lymph nodes at the armpits.
I attend Cheryl's class regularly and feel that my practice has improved immensely over the past few years due to her expert coaching. Her teaching style is clear and compassionate and her previous experience in teaching adults is evident in her organized approach and easy to understand instructions. I also appreciate that Cheryl not only teaches us about how to correctly position ourselves, but also touches on many aspects of yoga philosophy, which in turn has deepened my personal practice and heightened my awareness of the connection between mind and body, breath and relaxation.