Monday, August 8, 2011

The rock-climber twist

This is a great, simple, easy spinal twist that gets just about every part of your spine. But if you’re actually rock-climbing right now, while reading this, you should wait to try it after you’re back on level ground. I’m just sayin’, you know?

Here’s how it goes:

1. Lie face-down on your mat.

2. Extend your right arm up beside your head (so the right side of your body is a straight line between your right leg, your trunk, and your right arm).

3. Bend your left knee and bring it out to the left, so your inner left thigh presses against the floor. This is where you look like a rock-climber, hugging the face of a treacherous mountain wall. Stay a moment and feel the stretch through your pillar-like right arm, trunk and leg).

4. Press down with your left knee, lift your left arm, and move it back as far as you can, lifting the left hip off the floor and revolving your spine, your neck and your head. Stay for ten to thirty seconds; repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS: Gentle, easy way to get range of motion in the shoulder joint, the spine and the neck: gravity does the work for you and you only twist as far as your body’s natural range.

AVOID IF: If you cannot relax in the position because the arm that’s lifting above you doesn’t significantly tilt in the opposite direction, you might want to either curtail it to a few seconds. If any of this hurts, especially on your shoulder or spine, see if you can back off till it doesn’t hurt anymore; or skip it completely.

OTHER THOUGHTS: If you can get into it comfortably, this thing is like WD-40 for your spine. (If you only have a vague notion of what WD-40 is, don’t worry: I just said this to help guys get more comfortable with yoga. ;-) )

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