Continuing with our twist theme, the third stretch for April is taken from yoga and is called Childs Pose Twist. It will focus on stretching muscles around the spine and throughout the sides of the body.
You will need a yoga block and possibly a folded blanket to perform this stretch. If you have knee problems or difficulty getting up and down from the floor please skip this week’s stretch.
How to perform:
- Begin on all fours. Bring the big toes of each foot together and widen your knees. Exhale and sink your hips toward the heels. Knees should be wide enough for your torso to fit between them. If you cannot get the sit bones to touch your heels, place a folded blanket directly behind the knees, before you sink down, for support. This is shown in the “Modified” photo. Do not use a yoga block if you are in the modified variation. Extend the right arm straight with your palm to the floor and spread the fingers. Place your left hand under the left shoulder on the floor (as shown in the “Modified” photo) or the lowest setting of the Yoga block as shown in the bottom left photo marked “Level 1.”
- Gently press your left hand into the floor/block to twist the upper body to the left. Engage your belly button toward the spine to help twist a little deeper and protect your back. Keep sinking both hips equally to the heels. In addition, imagine you are squeezing an apple under your right armpit to keep the muscles engaged around the shoulder – you do not want to hang in the shoulder joint. Gaze is to the left horizon.
- If this feels okay and you want to increase the intensity of the stretch, raise the block to the next height as shown in the top right photo, marked “Level 2.” Engage the same actions as above. If Level 2 feels okay, proceed to “Level 3.” Again, engaging the same muscle actions as above, but gaze is now more to the sky.
- Stay here for 30-60 seconds. To return to the starting position, inhale and slowly rotate to the center. Then switch hand positions and move your block over to the other side to repeat.
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