2015. november 26., csütörtök

Assisted shoulder and upper back activation 3.\Yoga strap techniques

In this short blog post, I have collected two asana activations for the upper back and shoulder, assisted with yoga strap. These are not only pre-asanas anymore, they are in the hatha and ashtanga yoga sequences too and they work perfectly to activate the right muscles for deeper backbends and also to teach you, how to isolate and use these muscle groups. You can practice them with some simple strap modification.

They are the strap variations of the Purna Dhanurasana and Shalabasana. The point with these asanas is not to reach your feet and grab them (even if you can), more to move away from your upper body with your feet and move away from your feet with the chest.

1. Assisted Purna Dhanurasana:

First, you are lying on your stomach on the yoga mat. In the assisted Purna Dhanurasana the strap will be around your ankles and the ankles are closed. Grab the strap as close as you can to your ankles and begin to straighten your legs and push with the center of the chest forward (like another strap would pull your chest forward) while pulling your shoulders backward. Work with your inner (proprioceptive) senses to transfer the tension from the lower back into the center of the chest. The elbows are facing forward and moving closer and closer to each other. You can grab both sides of the strap together with both hands. In this case you can climb more and more backward. Or you can hold the two ends separated. In this case, when you want to climb back change to the close position, and when you reached your max, change back again to the separated version. In this asana is better to hold the strap together, because you can't use your legs to pull you so effectively like in the Shalabasana.

Your head position in this asana is also important because of the vertebras of your neck (cervical). First, with the top of the head streach up, move into the direction of the ceiling, make your neck as long as possible. Then, you can watch up, but it is not necessary. You only watch up, after you straightened your neck completely, but if you do so, stay focused on your chest, moving it forward. 

2. Assisted Salabhasana:

The Shalabasana with strap has the same activation like the Purna Dhanurasana, only the strap position here is around the sole, a bit above the heel. If you pull your toes upward and push your heels backward, your strap will hold a great grab. Experience, how can you hold on in this slippery area the most sustainably. Then push back with your heels and in the same time try to touch the ground with your toes while you are moving your chest forward, your arms and shoulders backward and the top of the head upward. In this position pulling the strap back is a little bit trickier, but because your legs are straight and almost completely on the ground, you can support your lower back more and isolate your upper back and shoulders. Don't forget to bring the inner tension from your lower back into the center of the chest.

And don't forget to do the compensation and the contra poses after both asanas, as I explained in the Assisted shoulder and upper back activation 2.
Have a good practice! In the next post, we will research my favorite shoulder and upper back activations, the Anahatasana family, the yoga puppy poses.

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