Kneeling Heat-up

12 Jan 2018, 12:17am -

Health Advice

- About Baxter Bell
by Baxter

This is my final warm up sequence in my series of four (see Standing Warm-Up, Seated Warm-Up, andDynamic Floor Warm-Up). Today’s warm-up includes poses that are practiced from a kneeling position. Starting your practice from Hands and Knees pose is a both good way to begin if you need some extra grounding at the start of your practice (all four limbs in contact with the floor!) or if you want some physical challenge, especially for strengthening your chest and core. This is also a good sequence for building bone strength in your wrists because you are bearing weight on your hands in most of the poses (your wrists are one of main areas where osteoporosis can develop so wrist strengthening is very important).

This warm-up will prepare you for practicing a wide range of other poses, including stronger backbends and forward bends, and arm balances, as well as standing side bends and twists, and balance poses such as Warrior 3.

For those with knee problems, be sure to use a folded blanket under your knees for all the poses. If needed, use even thicker padding, such as a two-blanket stack.If that doesn't help, try a different warm-up sequence instead.Those who have wrist or hand issues should try some of the poses on your forearms instead of your hands—with or without blocks under the forearms—or try a different warm-up sequence instead.

1. Child’s Pose, 1 minute
This pose provides a good way to get centered and gently stretches your legs and lower back.

Start in a Hands and Knees position with your knees on a blanket, and come into any version of Child’s pose that is comfortable for you (see Featured Pose: Child's Pose). For about a minute or as long as you need to center yourself, close your eyes and focus your attention on the shape your body your body takes in the pose and on your breath.

2. Cat-Cow, 6 rounds
This pose is an excellent way to gently warm up the joints of your spine.

Start from Hands and Knees position, inhale as you move into Cow pose and exhale as you move into the Cat pose. See Featured Pose: Dynamic Cat-Cow Posefor instructions.

3. Dynamic Cobra Pose, 6 rounds

This pose introduces back bending and forward bending movements to your spine and hips.

Starting in Hands and Knees position, move your hands one hand print forward of where they were for Cat-Cow. On an inhalation, swing your shoulders forward over your wrists with straight arms into High Cobra.As you exhale, keep your hands glued in position and swing your hips back towards your heels into Child’s pose, Version 2 (with arms forward). In this dynamic pose, to keep your hands in position, it’s okay for your hips to be higher than in a static Child’s pose. See the video for more information.

4. Hunting Dog, static, 30-60 seconds

The static version of Hunting Dog pose builds core, back, and upper body strength and challenges your balance.

From Hands and Knees position, come into any version of Hunting Dog pose. See Featured Pose: Hunting Dog and the video above for further information.

Although you can choose to do any version of the pose in this sequence, I recommend you work towards the classic version with holds of 30-60 seconds.

5. Dynamic All Fours Twist, 4-6 rounds each side

This pose introduces rotation (twisting) of your spine and is a good preparation for more challenging twists.

Start from Hands and Knees position. Keeping your left hand on the floor, inhale and twist your upper belly and chest to the right, and lift your right arm up in line with the turn of your chest. As you exhale, swing your right hand back down to the floor as you release the twist of your spine. Repeat 5 more times on the right, then switch and do 6 rounds on the left. Make up your mind either four to six or six? The video contains further instructions.

6. Dynamic Downward-Facing Dog Pose, 6 rounds

This pose warms you up for the classic Downward Dog pose as well as for forward bends (via the hip and leg stretches) and backbends (via the chest and arm stretches).

Start from Hands and Knees position, move your hands forward one hand print, and turn your toes under. As you inhale, gently arch your spine into Cow pose. Then exhale and lift up and back into Downward-Facing Dog pose for just a moment. Inhale and release your knees to the floor under your hips and move back into Cow pose. The video provides more instructions.

7. Dynamic Lunge Pose with Dropped Knee, 6 rounds each side

This pose stretches your front hip muscles and your hamstring muscles (backs of the thighs).

Starting from Hands and Knees position, step your right foot forward between your hands into Lunge pose, Version 4 (with a dropped knee). SeeFeatured Pose: Lunge Pose for information). For this dynamic sequence, bring your hands onto blocks placed just beneath your shoulders on their highest height instead of onto the floor.

On an inhalation, shift your hips and chest forward until you feel a good stretch at the front of your left hip and thigh. Then on your exhalation walk your blocks back 6-12 inches as you straighten your right leg, pivot onto the heel of your right foot, and bow slightly over your right leg until you feel a good stretch in the right hamstring muscles (backs of your thighs).

Continue moving between these two positions with your breath on the right side for 5 more rounds. Then return to Hands and Knees position, switch to Dropped Knee Lunge with your left foot forward and repeat the dynamic sequence on your left side. The video contains further instructions.

8. Dynamic Gate Latch Pose, 4-6 rounds each side

This pose lengthens and strengthens the sides of your body.

Start in a kneeling position, with your knees on a blanket and your body upright and arms at your sides? From there, take your right leg out to your right and a few inches slightly forward of your right hip?, straighten your knee and spin the sole of the foot down to the floor.

To practice the sequence, inhale and raise your arms up and out to the sides, as in Warrior 2 pose. Exhale and side bend your torso over your right leg, as you bring your right hand down to your right leg and your left arm up and over to the right. Inhale and lift up your torso and arms to the starting position. Exhale and release your arms to your sides. Repeat the sequence 3-5 more times on the right, then return to the basic kneeling position and repeat the sequence an equal number of times on the left. This video includes instructions.

9. Child’s Pose, 1-2 minutes
Finish your warm-up with any version of Child’s Pose for 1-2 minutes. (see Featured Pose: Child’s Pose ) Focus on your breath and the sensations of your body.

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