One very important aspect to yoga is the teacher. I’m very particular with who I go to for yoga class. It’s an important job! I look for someone who knows anatomy well, gives clear instruction with injury prevention strategies, and offers modifications and advancements, especially when we’re in a pose. This is important because everyone in the class is not at the same level. Some will need an easier version, yet some will be ready to try the more challenging version. I love an instructor that explains both options!
In today’s blog post, I offer a little do-it-yourself yoga to benefit your whole body based on sequences from my favorite yoga teacher. I recommend starting from a seated position and working on the breath with arm and trunk stretches before moving onto all fours and trying out this sequence.
On all fours, coordinate your breath with flexing and extending the spine in cat/cow. From there, we’ll often do spinal balance poses where you extend first the right hand and left leg, then left hand and right leg. Our instructor always goes through the pose three times so you can warm up, breathe, and perfect the pose.
A good example of my instructor’s cuing here is a recommendation to raise a single arm or leg if you can’t do both together. To take the pose up a notch, take your hand back and grab the ankle while you bend the knee and point the toes up. It’s a great stretch for the shoulder and hip flexors! You can always stay in a steady spinal balance if you want to keep it simple.
From all fours, we often go into downward facing dog. We position the arms first, and then we gradually straighten your legs to work the core. In down dog, you can add further core work by raising one leg up straight, flexing it forward to bring the knee toward the nose, and then extending the leg back into the air. Do this several times, switch the leg, and repeat.
Next comes plank. With your hands still planted on the mat, move your body forward from the down dog until your back is flat and your shoulders, elbows, and wrists are lined up. Just stay in plank, breathe, and get stronger! For an easier modification, you can go down on your knees or your elbows. To take it up a notch, you can raise one leg, hold, and then switch to the other leg.
Support Your Wrists With WAGs
When you’re on all fours or in plank or downward dog, there is a lot of pressure on the hands. WAGs are a great pair of yoga gloves with wedged wrist support to ease the pressure and make it more comfortable for your wrists and hands. The studio may have foam wedges you can use to help your wrists as an alternative to our wrist support gloves.
If you don’t have WAGs, you should definitely try a pair! We offer four different styles to meet your needs, whether you want extra wrist support with a wrist wrap or you prioritize the flexibility and versatility of our WAGs Flex gloves! Explore our site to compare your options, and place your order today for a future of pain-free downward dogs.
In another post, we’ll cover standing sequences and postures for whole-body yoga. Just remember to always go into your yoga practice with acceptance and gratitude. Accept where you and your body are at the time, pay close attention to what you feel, and honoring it.