Stretch of the Week: Downward DogLeave a Comment
October is my favorite month. I might be biased because it’s my birthday month;) But all the leaves changing beautiful colors and fall festivities really lifts my heart! We have to be mindful though as the colder months approach because we end up being inside many more hours. This means that if you sit for your job, you may end up sitting even more when you get home! So this month will be all stretches you can do with a chair while you’re at work (or wherever you like). We have to take a break every now and then to stretch those muscles that are in a fixed position for hours. This month we will focus on the muscles that get shortened while we sit, mainly the hamstrings and the pectoral(chest) muscles. We will also target the muscles through the side body to counteract the slouching and poor posture that happens from sitting too long. Let’s get started!
You will obviously need a chair for this stretch. This stretch is called downward facing dog, which if you have done yoga before, you may recognize 🙂 I feel this is a this one really stretches your entire body, it should be done daily! There are no contraindications for this stretch.
1.Place the chair with the seat facing you. Make sure you have the back of the chair secure into a wall or your desk. If you have wheels on your chair please lock them in place.
2.Stand in front of the chair and place your hands on the edge of the seat at the corners, hands should be roughly shoulder width apart here. The palms will be on the seat and the fingers will wrap around the edge to the underside for a secure grip.
3.Begin to step the feet back until you are in a plank position, as shown in the top photo marked step 1. Don’t sag the belly. Pull the belly button to the spine to keep the core engaged.
4.From here lift the hips to the sky and back, as you push your palms into the edge of the chair. You will make somewhat of an L shape. Keep the abs engaged, and root the heels into the floor as shown in the bottom photo marked step 2.
5.Things to remember here. Feet are even with each other. Keep the shoulder blades firm on the back. Bring the shoulders down away from the ears so you are not shrugging the shoulders. Rotate the inner thighs behind you to keep the legs engaged and straight. Keep the head in line with the spine.
Tip: if you are not feeling much of a stretch in the legs, walk the legs back more. Just be mindful you don’t drop the chest and sag in the upper body after you walk back.
6.You will feel a stretch in possibly many places with this one. It’s meant to target the sides of the body, length in the spine and low back, as well as in the back of the hamstrings and calves. If you feel it somewhere else that just means you are tight in that particular area. Stay here for 30 seconds up to 2 minutes. Repeat often!!