Monday, February 18, 2013

Pose of the month

Pose of the Month
By April Evans
Forearm Plank

During the chilly month of February, especially the one we have been having here in NYC, keeping warm is a major priority.  Forearm plank is a great pose to warm up the entire body by strengthening the core while opening the heart. 
-Strengthens the abdominals
-Strengthens the legs
-Strengthens the back
-Strengthens the arms
-Opens the shoulders
-Opens the chest
-Opens the backs of the legs and arches
How to:
It is imperative that you respect the boundaries of your body in this pose.  If you are building strength, then apply the modifications listed below.  Be patient now and build strength honestly.  If you don’t, you will have to be patient later while you are healing after hurting yourself.
-Come to Plank Pose, the top of a push-up
-Lower the forearms down to the ground, stacking the shoulders directly over the elbows.  Fan the fingers wide, making two parallel lines with your forearms
-If you have trouble keeping the elbows from winging out to the sides, it can be helpful to wrap a strap tightly around the upper arms and place a block in between the hands as pictured below

-Press strongly through the heels to feel the legs engage. (For some bonus engagement squeeze a block between the thighs or press the heels into a wall.)
-The hips want to be in line with the shoulders.  It can be helpful to practice beside a mirror to see if the hips are sagging down towards Sphinx pose or hiking up more toward Dolphin pose.  If the hips cannot stay in line with the shoulders, lower the knees down to the ground.  Maintaining the integrity of a long spine is essential in accessing the strength of the abdominals for support in the pose.

-Broaden the collar bones forward and let the back of the neck remain long
-Stay and hold for 5-10 breaths.  Smiling helps.
-Counter with a child's pose.

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