For a prop to help you in your bridge pose, try
UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheel.
iStock Filadendron Practice Safely Online
Chelsea Jackson Roberts, Ph.D., a Peloton yoga instructor, shares her advice for avoiding injury when your teacher isn’t in the room to spot you.
Listen to your body, not your ego.
Pushing yourself too far in a pose, whether it’s trying to touch your toes in
Standing Forward Bend or balance in Headstand, is a recipe for injury. Use your breath to find the sweet spot between working hard and not too hard (or not at all).
If you find yourself breathing at a faster pace in a pose, ease back.
On the other hand, if you’re able to have a conversation with your kid in the other room when the on-screen teacher asks you to hold
Utkatasana (Chair Pose), you might be able to drop your hips a little deeper.
Try diﬀerent teachers.
Moving through the same classes on autopilot can cause overuse injuries from doing the same types of movements too frequently or not paying attention to good form. Since there’s a lot of variety in how teachers sequence their classes and cue poses, alternating classes and teachers can introduce you to layers of subtleties you might not have known.
Invest in some props.
Constantly ask yourself, What do I need to do to support myself in this shape? Often, that means literally using support in the form of blocks, straps, and blankets. Set your home space up with this gear.
see also Try This Restorative, Hip-Opening Yoga Sequence for Ultimate Rejuvenation
Focus on Proper Alignment
“I travel around the world teaching and have noticed there are a number of commonly taught principles in yoga classes that are just not based in anatomical reality,” says Lasater, author of Yoga Myths: What You Need to Learn and Unlearn for a Safe and Healthy Yoga Practice. “They’re not helping anyone and, worse, could be causing a lot of harm.” Here are Lasater’s picks for two cues to ditch.
When your lumbar spine is in its natural curve, your sacrum is about a 30-degree angle from vertical.
1.“Tuck your tailbone in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)”
Doing so distorts the natural curve in your lower spine and destabilizes the sacroiliac (SI) joint between your sacrum and your ilia (the pair of large bones of the pelvis), which can cause low back pain. You’ll likely compensate by over lifting your breastbone, which flattens your thoracic curve—which is too much for a neutral standing position.
Do this instead: Find a doorway and stand with your back against one of the corners. With your feet parallel to each other and a little wider than hip-width, place your tailbone, mid-thoracic spine, and the back of your head against the slightly sharp edge of the wall. Make sure your chin is parallel to the floor, and stand here for a few breaths, noticing how free your breathing feels. The diaphragm is connected to the L1 vertebra, so when you keep the lumbar spine in this natural curve, you can breathe more freely.To feel the normal scapular movement, reach up as though grabbing something high on a shelf.
To feel the normal scapular movement, reach up as though grabbing something high on a shelf.
2. “Drop your shoulders down your back as you reach your arms skyward”
To understand the shoulder joint, you need to get to know your scapula, which is the key to how we move the entire upper extremity. Try this: While standing, without interfering with the natural movement of your scapula, slowly abduct one of your arms out to your side. Notice that your scapula doesn’t move very much at the beginning of the movement, but as you continue to move your arm skyward, you’ll immediately feel your scapula elevate and rotate. This rotation and elevation is a normal part of flexion and helps prevent injury.
Do this instead: As you raise your arms above your head, imagine you are reaching for something you want that’s on a high shelf. Really stretch up without thinking about your movement. You’ll notice the outside, or lateral border, of your scapula, moves up. As it does, feel how much freedom you have to move in your shoulder joint.
For a prop to help you stretch easier, try SANKUU Yoga Strap. Ease Back After an Injury
Four days after her second hip replacement, yoga teacher Cyndi Lee tried doing some gentle movements along with her breath—from her bed. The founder of OM Yoga Center in New York City quickly realized that these simple postures didn’t just help her reclaim her identity as a yogi, but also gave her a sense of embodiment. “If you’ve been cut open and pulled apart, it’s hard to feel integrated with your body,” she says. “But when you coordinate even the simplest movements with your breath, it’s a gathering together of your body and mind that can help you feel that integration again.”
Pranayama With simple arm movement
Sit on the edge of your bed or a comfortable chair with your back straight and your feet planted on the ground. Inhale for a count of 4 (or less, if that’s more comfortable) and exhale for a count of 4. After a few rounds of this equal-length breathing, add some arm movement. On each inhalation, lift your arms out to your sides and up toward your ears, and on each exhalation, bring them back down to rest beside your hips. Do this as many times as you want.
Gentle side bend
On an inhalation, raise your left arm out to the side and above your head so that your biceps are beside your ear. On an exhalation, gently bend your torso toward your right, feeling a stretch in your left side. On an inhalation, return to standing and repeat on the other side. This basic movement helps open your lungs, rib cage, and back—all of which can get really tight and funky when you’re in bed for extended periods of time.
On an inhalation, raise your left arm out to the side and above your head so that your biceps are beside your ear. On an exhalation, gently twist to your right, moving your left hand down and across your body to place it on your right thigh while moving your right hand behind you on the bed or chair. Stay here for a couple of breaths, being careful not to go too far into the twist. On your next inhalation, return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
On an inhalation, raise both of your arms out to either side and hold them at shoulder height. On an exhalation, externally rotate both arms so your palms face the ceiling; on an inhalation, internally rotate both arms so your palms face the floor. Continue these movements on the breath for 30 seconds to a minute.
Simple chest opener
On an inhalation, reach your hands behind your back, and interlace your fingers. Stay here, and return to the equal-length breathing you started with, focusing on lifting your chest and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Garudasana (Eagle Pose) v ariation
On an inhalation, reach your arms in front of you so they’re parallel to the floor, and spread your shoulder blades wide across your back. On an exhalation, cross your right arm over your left and bend your elbows, raising your forearms so they’re perpendicular to the floor. The backs of your hands can face each other. Return to equal-length breathing, lifting your elbows up and stretching your fingers toward the ceiling. Stay here for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
see also 10 Ways to Get Real About Your Body’s Limitations & Avoid Yoga Injuries
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