Stretch of the Week: Supported Reclined Front Body Stretchby Rachel Lackowski | Leave a Comment
For the second week of February’s “heart opener” theme, we will be performing the Supported Reclined Front Body Stretch. It will gently stretch the abdominals, rib and chest muscles and the biceps muscle of the upper arm.
You will need a yoga block to perform this stretch (see image). If you don’t have a yoga block, you can use a tightly rolled up towel as a substitute.
It is important to note that you should skip this week’s stretch if you have a back injury or difficulty getting up and down from the floor.
How to perform:
- Take a seat on the floor with your knees bent. Place the wide, flat side of the block (or rolled towel) behind you, horizontal to your spine. Place your hands behind you and lower your body down slowly, placing your upper back so the tips of your shoulder blades rest on the block.
If it’s too high as shown in the bottom right photo, your neck will be too congested. If it’s placed too low as shown in bottom left photo, your low back will arc too much (ribs will thrust up too high). The position of the block should be comfortable, right below the shoulder blades as shown in the top photos.
- Keep your knees bent with your feet flat on the floor. Press your belly button toward the floor to engage your low abdominals and protect your low back. You can place your arms 45 degrees from your body with the palms up, or for more stretch you can take your arms wide and bend them into cactus arms, like the top left photo. This will stretch more in the chest and biceps. For more abdominal stretch you can take arms shoulder width apart and reach them overhead toward the floor, as shown in top right photo. Only bring arms overhead as far as you feel comfortable while keeping ribs from thrusting up. Belly stays engaged throughout.
- Breath up and down the spine. Stay here for at least five breath cycles (inhale and exhale), but no more than 10. To get up, gently roll to one side, coming to the fetal position. Then use both your hands to press yourself up to a seated position.
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