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The yoga wheel can be a great tool to assist you in increasing your mobility. In particular this quick sequence helps me in the morning to open up my shoulders and upper back, and then get deeper in to leg flexibility.
You will need a yoga wheel to do these 7 poses, it doesn’t matter which one.
1. Supported Fish – Come to a seat with the knees bent and feet on floor, bringing the yoga wheel back behind you. Try and get it towards the upper back. Interlace the fingers behind your head, and slowly lean back on to the wheel. Feeling it in between the shoulder blades. As you exhale, lay back over the wheel. As you inhale, lift up slightly. As if doing a little crunch, but without engaging the abdominals. After a few rounds like this move lower in to the back, by pressing in to the feet and lifting the hips up. You may be able to move the hands on to the wheel as your head is supported by the wheel now. Try to lower the hips closer to the wheel. Just do a gentle rock back and forth here. Slowly ease forward, returning the hips to the ground.
2. Supported Bridge – From a seat, move the wheel so that it’s more towards the mid to low back. Push in to the feet to lift the hips. Let gravity pull the head down to the mat. From here you can choose to reach the arms back overhead, to extend the legs out long, or both. Hold here for a few breaths. Walk the fingers in to support you and slowly roll the wheel through the entire length of your spine. Ensure your head is supported. Make this rolling back and forth as fluid and liquid as possible.
3. Quad Stretch – From the supported bridge pose, bend 1 knee back to come on to the shin. You can do this one leg at a time, or take the full saddle variation with both shins down. This is a big front body opener. Depending on flexibility, you may be able to hold on to the wheel here. Ease the legs forward to come out.
4. Forearm Wheel – Move the wheel more in to the bar strap area/space between the shoulder blades. See if you can bring the head to rest on the wheel. Push in to the feet, lift the hips and see if now that you are more open you are able to bring the elbows towards the floor. They may hover, that’s perfectly fine. Try to melt your hips down towards the wheel. When you are ready to exit the pose, bring the palms to the floor, push in to them and roll back up.
5. Forward Fold – Take the time to counteract all of these deep back bends with a forward fold. Straighten the legs out in front of you. Relax in to a fold. Let your head be heavy in more of a Yin style fold. Soften and bend the legs a bit here, whatever feels good.
6. Lunge/Splits – From kneeling, bringing the wheel out in front of you. Place your right foot over the wheel. Bring the wheel forward as you melt your hips down in to a low lunge. Rock the weight back, bringing the wheel under the shin, as you fold forward towards the front leg and wheel. Roll back and forth between these two poses a few times. After a few rounds you might be able to sink the hips back all the way to the ground as you fold towards the wheel. Then to finish off here, slide all the way forward, while also trying to straighten the back leg, as if in a split. Repeat on other side.
7. Pigeon – From kneeling, bring the wheel back behind you. Hook the right ankle over the wheel and slide it back, lifting the knee, and straightening the back leg in this pigeon type variation. Press your hips down towards the mat, as you stretch in to the quads and hip flexors. You may want to soften down on to the forearms here, or may prefer to come up to the fingertips and take in to a bit of a back bend. Switch sides.
Would you prefer to be guided through this sequence every step of the way with visual and audio cues? Check out the video below.
Yoga with Kassandra – Disclaimer
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