- Hold 5 Locust Poses for 20 seconds each.
- Repeat the Downward Facing Dog Exercise 3 times.
- Complete Chest Stretches for 2 minutes before bed and in the morning.
- Cobra Pose (new one so we'll go over this first today)
Cobra pose helps you increase the flexibility of your spine and stretches your chest. This pose also helps build the muscles of the spine and shoulders.
How to do Cobra Pose
- Lay on your stomach with your legs extended behind you. Have your palms flat on the ground under your shoulders. Bend your elbows so they are pointing back and hug them into your sides.
- Keeping your hips on the ground, inhale through your nose and slowly lift your chest and head up off the floor. Keep your gaze forward towards the floor. Roll your shoulders back so they are away from your ears. Keep your ribs low to the floor and make sure your elbows are close to your ribs. Press the tops of your feet and thighs into the ground. Only straighten your arms as far as you can stretch. Do not push yourself here, be gentle.
- Hold this pose for 10 seconds and then release.
Alternative #1: Half Cobra
If it is uncomfortable to straighten your arms, you have sensitive wrists, or lower back pain, instead plant your forearms on the ground. Make sure your elbows are under your shoulders. Slowly lift your chest off the floor as you breathe in and remember to keep your forearms on the ground. Lift yourself up to the point where you just start to feel a stretch in your lower back.
How To Do Locusts
- Lie on your stomach, with your arms placed near the sides of your body and your hands close to your hips.
- Relax and rest your forehead on the ground or turned to one side. Make sure to relax your neck.
- Inhale slowly and deeply. As you exhale, lift your head, chest, arms, and legs off the ground. You need to keep your legs straight and together. Your arms should be parallel to the ground.
- Either look straight ahead or keep your head down. You want to keep tension out of your neck, so do what feels comfortable.
- Hold this pose for 10 seconds and repeat it twice.
Alternative #1: Half Locust
If this pose is not accessible to you, try executing the pose by leaving your legs and feet on the ground. Inhale slowly and deeply. As you exhale, raise your head, shoulders, and arms up to the point where your lower back muscles are activated.
Alternative #2: Locust Opposite Arm and Leg Lift
Another variation is to activate your core muscles and lift your head and chest. Inhale slowly and deeply. As you exhale, lift your left arm and your right leg. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then switch and lift your right arm and your left leg.
How To Do Downward Facing Dog Exercises
- Start on all fours.
- Lift your hips toward the ceiling.
- Stretch your heels and firmly place them on the ground.
- Let your head drop, so your neck is elongated.
- Breathe in and out.
- Repeat this exercise 5 times.
Alternative #1: Half Downward Facing Dog
If you can’t place your heels on the ground, don’t worry, just push your heels as close to the ground as you can. If you feel tension, add a light bend to your knees. Remember don’t push your body to the point of injury.
Alternative #2: Kneeling Downward Facing Dog
Place your knees on the ground and leave them there. Keeping your hips up, extend your arms out in front of you so your head faces down toward the mat and your neck is extended.
Alternative #3: Wall Dog Modification
Facing the wall, stand 3-4 feet away from it. Place your hands on the wall, shoulder width apart, with your arms straight out from your shoulders. Stand with your feet, hip distance apart. Slowly draw your hips back and lower your head and torso. Keep your legs straight. Make sure your back doesn’t dip down or round. Slowly sink down into it until your back is parallel to the floor. Go slowly, if you can’t have your back parallel to the floor then stop where you feel a good stretch. Activate your core and draw it in towards your spine. Continue to take deep slow breaths in and out.
How To Do Chest Stretches
- Stand up straight.
- Reach your arms behind you and interlace your fingers, so your hands are joined.
- Keep your neck neutral, and your eyes focused forward.
- Lift your chest toward the ceiling while taking deep breaths.
- Repeat this exercise for 5 minutes in the morning and evening.
Alternative #1: Stretch Strap Assistance
If you can’t interlace your fingers, take a stretch strap or a towel in one hand, reach behind you with your hands, grab the other side of the stretch strap with your other hand and stretch that way.
RangeMaster Stretch Strap
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Gentle, prolonged stretches are simplified with the RangeMaster® Stretch Strap. Six feet of durable nylon webbing is complemented with tough elastic loops stitched in that provide anchoring position for feet and/or hands. The one-inch-wide strap comes with several exercise routines in a user guide.
The greatest feature of the RangeMaster Stretch Strap is the 'center loop' making it easy to find stretching balance!
Alternative #2: Half Chest Stretch
No strap or towel? Just reach back with your hands and bring them as close together as you can.