PRACTICE U: For YoU

 
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strong Upper Body 101:
Building mindful Upper Body Strength
(Arms, shoulders & Upper back)

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poses to strengthEN YOUR upper body.

Stay to inhale and exhale 5 - 10 breaths in each, then repeat at least 3 times before moving on to the next pose, then the next.
You will feel the work and results almost immediately!


Holding a ‘Block’
Between Palms

This is a great way to build strength without holding or bearing any weight.
You’ll be surprised…

Find a comfortable seat where you can hold your back nice and tall. Hold an ‘imaginary block’, (or an actual yoga block), between your palms and squeeze into it. Straighten your elbows and hold the arm bones back into your shoulder sockets. You’ll feel your shoulders move down away from your ears. The muscles in your upper back will heat up and turn on! Make sure to breathe and that your breath is slow and even. Keep the jaw and muscles in your face soft. Stay here inhaling and exhaling 5 - 10 breaths, then repeat at least 3 times.

*RECOVER: Rest arms or make arm circles to release shoulders

 



Floating Table Top

Variation #1: On hands and knees in Table Top position place palms flat, keep belly tight to your spine, and lift armpits away from the floor to feel your back and abdominal muscles engage. Tuck toes under and lift knees 1 to 2 inches off of the floor, but don’t loose that work in back and abs.
Pull shoulders back from ears and feel the chest move slightly forward. Keep arms and elbows straight. Stay here inhaling and exhaling 5 - 10 breaths, then repeat at least 3 times.

*RECOVER: Sit on shins with hands on thighs


OR
Plank Pose

Variation #2: Palms flat to floor, come to Plank pose also known as a High Push-Up position. Knee caps are lifted, push into your palms as well as back into your heels to keep your legs active and low back safe. Lift your armpits and belly.Pull shoulders back from ears and feel the chest move slightly forward. Keep arms and elbows straight. And look slightly forward so that your neck is also long.

*RECOVER: Sit on shins with hands on thighs

 
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Dolphin pose

For this cousin to Downward Facing Dog Pose, start on your hands and knees in table top pose, then place your palms and forearms flat to the floor. Move forward so your shoulders are over your elbows. Tuck your toes under, then lift your knees off the floor and walk your feet 2 or 3 steps closer to your hands. See if you can get your shoulders above your elbows. Pike your hips and keep heels reaching down, but not touching the floor. Inhale to push forearms and palms down while lifting shoulders away from the floor. Exhale to lift belly and front ribs while pushing into your heels. Keep ears in line with your upper arms so your neck stays long. This will protect your shoulders by reducing the work there, while building strength in your upper arms and back. Stay here inhaling and exhaling 5 - 10 breaths, then repeat at least 3 times.

*RECOVER: Child’s Pose