When working with the upper body it is important to keep the shoulders soft, free and wide so that they are able to transfer the weight of the arms properly onto the back without compromising the head and neck. In this practice, consider the folloing points as you go through the sequence:
- Allow your neck to be soft and free so that your head is can balance and mover freely on the top of the spine.
- Allow your shoulders, shoulder blades and collarbones to release away from your ears and rest easily on your torso.
- Soften and widen evenly across your upper back and top chest.
- Lengthen up through the sides of your torso all the way up into your armpits. Soften and widen your armpits front to back and back to front. Allow your torso to support your shoulders from underneath.
- In the Table Top, Bridge Pose and Shoulder Stand variations, take care to stay soft and wide in the space between your shoulder blades. Lengthen and strengthen your triceps while expanding and lifting the sides of your chest towards the ceiling, rolling your armpits towards your head. Working from the sides of your torso will help to keep your back and chest wide.
Side Stretch at wall
• Lean the right side of the body into the wall with the right arm overhead.
• Bend the right elbow, take hold of it with the left hand and draw the arm up and over the top of the head. Hold for a minute or two and repeat on the second side.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose) with the feet on blocks
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose) with the hands on blocks
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with the feet apart
Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with the feet apart
Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with the feet apart
Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)
Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped Behind the Back) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) with the elbows clasped behind the back
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation with the hands on blocks
- Do the pose twice.
- Loop a belt around the ankles and hold onto the belt to create more stability and openness in the chest.
- In this link, the picture shows a basic set-up for the pose. Modify by having three blankets under your shoulders, as for shoulder stand, and hold on to the front legs of the chair for more stability.