Yoga: Sports and Recovery Focus on Back
Here are a several yoga postures to help develop and stretch our back muscles.Theses asanas will assist in lengthening muscles that tend to tighten during sport, work, stress and injury.
All these postures will also enhance core strength and stability due to the nature of body weight conditioning. In yoga, there are several types of breathing techniques used when in poses. Taking a natural approach of a long inhale and relaxing inhale will enhance the effectiveness of these postures. Keep in mind that muscles will follow how the central nervous system acts and adjusts to stimulus. The more relaxed the breath is, the easier it is to stretch the body. Hold all poses for at least 5-6 breaths (1 inhale and 1 exhale count as 1 breath) to get a great stretch and time for the muscle and mind to relax.
All postures will benefit the Lats, Teres, External obliques, Serratus and Thoracolumbar Fascia
Begin with your knees wide open (optional closed knees if you have prior or current shoulder discomfort when stretching arms forward ).
Extend arms towards front of mat open and wide(optional closed knees and arms pointing back next to feet).
Heels on hips (use of a yoga block between legs for support is optional).
Breathe to lengthen arms and chest muscles which enable the “lats” or back muscles to calm and lengthen on the exhale.
Hands are under shoulders and hips above knees.
Cow: Chin lifts and throat and chest begin to stretch up and wide. Arch your lower back as you untuck your tailbone. Inhale.
Cat: Begin to lift from chest and widen through shoulder blades as you round the mid to upper back. Exhale.
Go through 3 rounds.
DOWNWARD FACING DOG
Hands are generally shoulder width apart, have a slight micro bend in the elbows for support. Keep all the knuckles on each hand firmly pressed into mat. This will create a lock (banda) around the wrist and evenly spread the weight across the hands.
Press into heels even if legs are bent. This will ease the muscles in the lower back and take pressure off the shoulders.Externally rotate the shoulders and draw chest towards upper thighs.
Inhale to lift the back ribs to the sky and exhale hands and feet into mat .
DOWNWARD FACING DOG WITH A TWIST
Similar to Downward Facing Dog pose, however use the opposing arm to bind any part of the leg.
Spread the shoulder blades to ensure a definite stretch of the back muscles.
FORWARD FOLD WITH A LEG BIND
Start off with bent knees and folding from the hips. Bind one arm behind the back and the other to any part of the opposite leg.
Feel the shoulders pull away from ears and neck as you twist.
Inhale to lengthen legs and exhale to draw your upper body closer to the floor.
EXTENDED SIDE ANGLE POSE
Bend your lead knee and extend the opposite leg across mat. Press firmly on the four corners of both feet to ground and centre body towards tailbone.
With one elbow placed on the thigh, extend the other arm in a straight line above head
Use the same angle as the hip and leg on the same side.
Inhale to lengthen and exhale to open chest to sky.