Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tiger Pose Chaturanga

I'm sad to say that I've been slacking on my yoga. Guitar Boy and I have been going on bike rides instead. The weather has been so lovely; it's hard to compare an hour indoors doing yoga with an hour (or more) outdoors biking and enjoying the beautiful Towpath. Yesterday, we managed to go 30 miles, much to my dismay because we were utterly wholly unprepared and were practically starving and shaking with hunger by the end of the ride. Next time, granola bars. Yep.

However, when I'm watching TV while winding down at night, I'll do a couple yoga poses during the commercials. Sometimes, I'll do a few quick Sun Salutations, other times, I'll do some twists and seated stretches. Yet other times, I'll do this modified Tiger Stretch I've seen in some yoga sessions but can't find the official name for it. I consider it a sort of Tiger Stretch chaturanga. Chaturangas are an important part of Sun Salutations. It's a yoga push up. What fun!

This modified Tiger Stretch is a vinyasa that includes an Extended Cat Stretch and a yoga push up, finishing with the Tiger Stretch. It's a great way to stretch out your spine and neck. It also strengthens your arms, most specifically your triceps, and it helps build your core. It's incredibly energizing. After I finish my sequence, my muscles are loose and renewed and I feel relaxed.

1. You begin in tabletop pose, (remember from the Cat-Cow Pose.) Stand on your hand and knees, your wrists below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Keep your back and neck flat and straight and relax your jaw.

2. Then, shift your weight so it centers over your right knee. Inhale and slowly lift and stretch out your left leg. Reach it up while arching your back, lowering your belly down towards the floor, and looking up. This is the Extended Cat Pose.

3. Exhale, with your leg still lifted, soften your back slightly and begin to lower into the push up. Slowly, by bending your elbows back towards your hips, not out to the side, lower your chest to the floor in a mini push up. You will now look like a diagonal line with your leg in the air and your chest close to the ground.

4. Inhale, and slowly push yourself back up into the Extended Cat Pose in number 2.

5. Now, exhale and release your leg. Raise your back, bend your knee as you release the leg and bring it under your body close to your forehead. Lower your head to meet it and stretch your spine in the opposite way from the Extended Cat Pose. This is the Tiger Stretch.

6. Come back to the Extended Cat Pose and repeat 2 through 5 two more times on the same leg. Then, return to the table top pose.

7. Repeat the sequence three times on the opposite leg making sure to center your weight on your left knee first before raising your right leg. 

I do this three times on each leg then move into the Child's pose to relax for a minute. If you don't think you can manage the chaturanga, the push up, you can simply skip steps 3 and 4 and go straight into number 5. Do give it a chance though, you might find it a bit enjoyable!

Note: I am not a doctor or any type of medical/physical professional. My advice is given because it works for me, not because a doctor or professional said so. If you have any questions about your physical ability, please check with your doctor or physician first for all matters.  

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