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Backbends that Counteract Strain and Fatigue

With gardening season approaching its end, one sure cure for a gardener’s tired back is to bend it the opposite way.  Of course in yoga vernacular, we call that back bending.  The Ustrasana (Camel pose) sequence below is useful for removing your gardening strains and kinks as well as opening your heart for the new people and activities that will emerge as August closes and September unfolds.  Breathe deeply and enjoy your final week of August.

Action: Lengthen your quads down to your knees, and release your shin bones to the skin of your front lower leg. For more advanced practitioners, lengthen your psoas muscles.

QUAD STRETCH 1

Stand with your back toward the wall. Have a chair in front. Place your hands onto the chair seat as you bend your left leg and place your right shin up the wall. Slide your right knee down the wall until it comes to rest onto a blanket or foam block. As your quads stretch open, you may be able to rest your back against the wall. Hold for 10-20 breaths. To come out, press into your left foot and hands and lift straight up to standing. Repeat on other side.

QUAD STRETCH 2

Stand in front of a chair. Bend forward and place your hands onto the floor or blocks in front of your left foot. Lift your right leg and place your right foot onto the chair seat. As the stretch in your quads increases, you may be able to straighten your body upward and hold the chair seat.  Hold for 10-20 breaths. To come out, bend forward and place your hands onto the floor. Press into your left foot and hands and lift straight up to standing. Repeat on other side.

SALAMBA USTRASANA   (Supported Camel pose)

In this supported form of Ustrasana, kneel with your back toward a chair positioned at a wall. Place a bolster onto the chair. Find the actions as you lean your upper body back and place your hands onto the chair legs. Rest the back of your head onto the bolster. Hold for 10-20 breaths, come up and rest.

USTRASANA   (Camel pose)

Kneel with your back toward a wall. Find the actions as you lean your upper body back and place your hands onto blocks. You may be able to rest the back of your head into the wall. Hold for 5-10 breaths, come up and rest.

 

USTRASANA   (Camel pose)

From a kneeling position, find the actions and lean your upper body back.  Your hands may come onto your heels or blocks. Hold for 5-10 breaths, come up and rest.

PASCHIMOTTANASANA  (Seated Forward bend)

Sit with legs extended under a chair. Lean forward and rest your head and arms onto the chair seat. Hold for 1-3 minutes.

Winnipeggers Helen Maupin (www.righttojoy.com) and Candace Propp (www.natureofcontentment.com) are certified senior yoga teachers and authors of the  Creating Space:  Yoga Actions book series. To purchase these print or ebooks, visit here. For yoga teacher training (200- & 500-hour) with them and Stacy Schroder or to purchase the Yoga Actions teacher training facilitator manuals and student handbooks contact www.sereneyogastudio.com.

Photos:  Wayne Glowacki.